CLACTON MP Giles Watling has called on the Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings to resign after a controversial journey during the coronavirus lockdown.

It comes amid a revolt within the Conservative Party over Mr Cummings’ trip to Durham, with dozens of backbench Tories criticising his actions.

Mr Cummings drove from London to Durham to isolate with his family during the lockdown and said he subsequently took a trip to Barnard Castle to see if he was fit enough to drive before returning to the capital.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has continued to stand by Mr Cummings and insisted it was time to “move on” when he faced questioning over the issue before the Commons Liaison Committee of senior MPs on Wednesday.

However, Mr Watling is one of at least 40 Tory MPs calling for Mr Cummings to quit or be sacked amid fears over a backlash to the public health message. He said: “I have received and reviewed an unprecedented volume of correspondence relating to Dominic Cummings in recent days.

“Overwhelmingly, that correspondence has expressed anger at his conduct.

“Certainly, there are differing views on Mr Cummings’ conduct, some of which may have been allowable under the guidance.

“And while his explanation in the Rose Garden wasn’t flawless, I now believe one thing is clear: the public’s trust in the Government’s guidance has been undermined.

“For the security of the nation we must regain that trust.

“It is clear many feel his continued presence makes a mockery of the sacrifices we have all made during this outbreak.”

He added: “Residents have already expressed concerns about children returning to school, day trippers visiting our coastline and the re-opening of businesses.

“This incident will only add to their feeling of anxiety and while we carefully navigate the reopening process, we must have total faith in the directions we are given.”

Harwich MP Sir Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Liaison Committee, said following the hearing: “I thought it could have been a ding-dong between Boris Johnson and critics.

“But I was determined to stand by responsible scrutiny as we should not be dominated by one issue.”

“This unfortunate episode now has the potential to negatively impact on the effectiveness of our collective response to Covid-19, and, I believe, the only way to restore the credibility of the Government’s guidance in the eyes of local residents is for Mr Cummings to stand down.”

The Prime Minister rejected a call on Wednesday to investigate Mr Cummings’ actions during the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Quite frankly I’m not certain - right now - that an inquiry into that matter is a very good use of official time,” the PM said. “We are working flat out on coronavirus.”