Church of England bishops are joining the chorus of criticism directed at Boris Johnson over his handling of top adviser Dominic Cummings’ rule-breaking 260-mile lockdown trip to Durham, with one saying the PM “lacked integrity.”

Johnson threw his support behind Cummings over the April trip from London to his parents’ home in Durham with his infected wife in tow. The revelations have prompted calls for the chief aide’s immediate resignation, as the public grows weary of abiding by ongoing lockdown restrictions – in contrast, it seems, to government advisers.

Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, tweeted that the public were being “patronised and treated as mugs.” Bishop of Ripon Helen-Ann Hartley also let loose at the pair for their “misguided ideology of power that has total disregard for the most weak and vulnerable,” as well as NHS staff who work to protect people for low pay.

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Meanwhile, Bishop of Bristol Vivienne Faull said the PM had “no respect for the people” and that the “bonds of peace and our common life have been dangerously undermined” by the mens’ actions.

“It is not good enough to treat the people of this country like sheep who can be fooled,” tweeted Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes.

Bishop of Sheffield Pete Wilcox said he does not usually tweet about politics, but felt he “must” comment that the Cummings scandal was “undermining the trust of the electorate.”

Bishop of Manchester David Walker said that “clear repentance” was needed and that, unless Cummings was sacked, he did not know how the Church can “trust what ministers say sufficiently” to work with them on the pandemic any longer.

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The PM’s defense of Cummings “lacks both integrity and respect,” and “not from a political perspective but a moral one,” Bishop of Reading Olivia Graham said.

Johnson insisted on Sunday that Cummings had “acted responsibly, legally, and with integrity,” when he made the trip, but rather than dying down, the scandal appears to be picking up steam.

On Monday, a heart doctor working in a Covid-19 intensive care unit threatened to quit his job if Cummings had not been fired by the end of the week. Dr Dominic Pimenta said that, with his actions, Cummings spits in the faceof the NHS’s efforts.

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