SEVERAL Conservative councillors in Salford say Dominic Cummings should resign after travelling more than 260 miles during the coronavirus lockdown.

But one councillor compared the media scrutiny around the government special advisor’s journey with his wife and four-year-old son as ‘tantamount to child abuse’.

Mr Cummings has defended the March trip to his family’s estate in County Durham, saying that he acted ‘reasonably’ to seek childcare support after his wife developed COVID-19 symptoms.

His actions have also been backed by prime minister Boris Johnson and several cabinet colleagues.

The issue has divided opinion amongst Tory members of Salford council, with group leader Cllr Les Turner believing Mr Cummings’ actions have ‘undermined’ the government’s coronavirus guidance.

“I just think for the good of everyone he should really go,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“It seems to the ordinary person that it’s not possible for them to interpret the rules in the same way as Dominic Cummings has.

“I’ve got a daughter in Scotland but I wouldn’t dream of doing what he did.

“People will look at what he;’s done and think ‘blow this, I’m going to see my nearest and dearest.”

Cllr Bob Clarke agreed that it sent out the wrong message and says that Mr Cummings should consider his position.

But everyday people have better things to worry about such as their jobs, their livelihoods and the possibility of schools reopening, according to Cllr Clarke.

He said: “I think a lot of people have done the same but they just haven’t been caught.”

While claiming that parts of the media had ‘blown up’ the story as part of a ‘witch hunt’, Cllr Robin Garrido admitted that he couldn’t defend Mr Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle.

“I don’t think he should’ve done what he did, and it’s hard to justify the second journey as it’s unacceptable,” he said.

“I think this is taking people away from important messages particullary from the prime minister explaining the next stage of how we’re tackling the virus and how we move forward by opening some retail shops.

“Dominic Cummings has to go, he’s become too much of a distraction.”

Cllr Garrido’s wife Karen, a former leader of the council’s Conservative group, added: “If I was a lot younger I’d want to go to my mum if I was ill, but it’s unbelievable that he went on to go on a 30 mile trip to test his eyes.”

But some councillors such as Coun Arnold Saunders feel that what Mr Cummings did was not a sackable offence.

Cllr Saunders compared the situation to when Labour MP Stephen Kinnock visited his father, former Labour leader Neil, on his birthday. Mr Kinnock later said he was delivering ‘necessary supplies’.

“Dominic Cummings should put his hands up and say that there was an error of judgement and apologise,” said Cllr Saunders.

“He might’ve made a mistake but it’s regrettable that his wife and child, particularly the child, have been dragged into this.

“I think that discussing the child in this way is almost tantamount to child abuse, it’s just immoral.”

As a rabbi, Cllr Saunders says he has conducted ‘heartbreaking’ funerals and accepted that many in his community would feel aggrieved by Mr Cummings’ actions.

But he added: “I’d urge them to cut him some slack.”

Cllr Jillian Collinson says he could partly understand why Mr Cummings did what he did, having had a daughter who was critically ill for the first few years of her life.

The situation could have been handled better says Cllr Collinson, who says that Mr Cummings should have spoken out sooner and apologised.

But she said: “I know a lot of people would say his position is untenable but in saying that the prime minister relies on him very heavily.

“I don’t think he should have to stand down and we should move on from this.”