DOMINIC Cummings' alleged lockdown breaches have provoked Worsley and Eccles South MP Barbara Keeley to call for an official inquiry amid continued anger at Boris Johnson's chief adviser.

Ms Keeley described Mr Cummings' actions as an "insult" after hearing the under-fire aide's efforts to defend his trip from London to Durham.

She said: "People in Salford and across the country have obeyed the lockdown regulations for two months, often making heart-breaking decisions to do so. They have not seen close family members, or visited them in care homes, and many people have missed funerals and the chance to grieve together because they are obeying rules to help stop this virus.

"For Boris Johnson’s closest adviser to flout the guidelines he helped to develop is an insult to everyone who has made a personal sacrifice to help defeat Covid-19. People are rightly asking why they should obey the lockdown if the Government is allowing it to be broken by advisers.

"It cannot be one rule for Boris John’s adviser and another for everyone else. I have called for an inquiry into this breaking of the lockdown rules and for Dominic Cummings to do the right thing by resigning. "If he won't do so and the Prime Minister won't sack him, it raises questions about who is actually running this Government."

Ms Keeley's comments come amid continued concerns over how the Prime Minister's defence of Mr Cummings will affect the public, police and health workers during the pandemic.

In an extraordinary press conference for an adviser, Mr Cummings argued that his journey to Durham in March was justified as he sought to protect his family's health.

But many questions remained unanswered, including over his subsequent drive to Barnard Castle which he said was to test his eyesight after it was affected by Covid-19.

Cabinet Minister, Michael Gove, said the journey, some 25 miles from where the aide was isolating, was "completely appropriate" because he was "preparing to return to work" by checking he was safe to drive the long trip back to London.

Told that the reason "preparing to return to work" did not appear under the regulations, Mr Gove replied: "No, but the key thing is Dominic is a key worker and being in a position to return to work is a sensible thing.

"It'd have been entirely within his right to return to work that day on the basis of the advice he had been given, that's my understanding, so that drive was completely appropriate," he added, to BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Former Greater Manchester Police chief constable Sir Peter Fahy said officers had become "frustrated" by the fiasco, which may hinder policing with the rules "now very confused".

"Clearly, number one, that's ill-advised as a means of testing your eyesight as to whether you're fit to drive, but again it's hard to see - unless there's some justification that that was to take daily exercise - how that was justified," he told Today.

And, asked if it was a criminal offence, Sir Peter replied: "It certainly appears to be against the Highway Code - it's not the way to test your eyesight, and put potentially other people in danger."

He also said "it may well be that absolutely he'd have been turned back" by officers if they stopped him during the drive north from London in March.

NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson said: "Because of the way this story has unfolded, there is certainly concern among our members, health leaders, that it could damage staff and public confidence in official guidance.

"So I think there is concern that this has been a distraction and that it's not been helpful, and the fear is that it has made people on the front line frustrated and fearful."

Professor Stephen Reicher, who advises the Government on human behaviour during disease outbreaks, said the PM is risking undermining community spirit by backing Mr Cummings.

"Now, thank God, the public at large didn't take that attitude, the public at large, as I say, made those major sacrifices, but it threatens to undermine that sense of community if a figure as prominent as Dominic Cummings and if the Prime Minister himself starts undermining that 'we' message and starts talking about 'I'," he told Sky News.

The political storm created by Mr Cummings' press conference on Monday overshadowed Mr Johnson's announcement that all shops in England will be able to open next month if they can protect shoppers and workers.

The adviser told reporters in No 10's garden that his wife, journalist Mary Wakefield, fell ill on March 27 - leading him to swiftly leave Downing Street for home.

He said she felt better after a couple of hours and he returned to Downing Street before they later discussed the situation further, including the fact that many in No 10 had developed Covid-19 symptoms.

Mr Cummings said he was worried that if they both fell ill, there was "nobody in London we could reasonably ask to look after our child and expose themselves to Covid".

He declined to apologise and said he did not regret his actions when he outlined how he drove from his home in London to County Durham during the lockdown.