Newsnight's Emily Maitlis Praised For Extraordinary Monologue On Dominic Cummings Backlash

"It perfectly sums up the nation's increasing anger," one person wrote on Twitter.

Newsnight host Emily Maitlis has been widely praised for reading the public mood in her summing up of the Dominic Cummings controversy.

The presenter opened Tuesday night’s edition of the current affairs programme with a monologue about the backlash to the government aide’s 260-mile lockdown trip to his parents’ house in Durham, amid increasing pressure for him to resign.

Maitlis began by simply saying: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules.”

She continued: “The country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.

“The longer ministers and the prime minister tell us that we worked within them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.

“He was the man, remember, who always got the public mood, who tagged the lazy label of ‘elite’ on those who disagreed. He should understand that public mood one now: one of fury, contempt and anguish.

“He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to assume they can now flout them.”

Emily Maitlis on Tuesday's Newsnight
Emily Maitlis on Tuesday's Newsnight

She added: “The prime minister knows all this, and despite the resignation of one minister and growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.”

Clips of Maitlis’ monologue swiftly began circulating online, with many impressed with her firm stance on the controversy.

In a press conference on Monday, 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.

Despite continued public unrest, the government has continued to back Cummings, with prime minister Boris Johnson refusing to fire his senior aide.

Newsnight airs weeknights at 10.45pm on BBC Two.


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