The deputy leader of Enfield’s Conservative Group has responded to the uproar over a Government adviser’s alleged breach of the coronavirus lockdown.

Cllr Edward Smith (Cockfosters) said he understood Dominic Cummings’ “desire to safeguard his son and take him to a place of safety” after the Prime Minister’s chief adviser was condemned for travelling hundreds of miles to County Durham at the end of March.

Several Conservative MPs are among those who called for Mr Cummings to step down after it was revealed he made the visit – which included a drive to local beauty spot Barnard Castle – during the coronavirus lockdown period.

It has led to claims he broke the Government’s own lockdown rules that millions of ordinary people have followed to the letter.

But Mr Cummings denied the allegations and said in a statement on Monday (May 25) that he had acted “reasonably and legally”.

Deputy leader of the Conservatives Cllr Edward Smith (Cockfosters) said: “This has not been a subject of discussion with colleagues. We are concentrating on what is happening in Enfield, where there is a huge amount that needs to be done and monitored. That is our priority.

“I listened to (Dominic Cummings’) explanation yesterday. He said fairly clearly he had taken the action he did to safeguard his young son and take him to a place of safety.

“He said that he had felt the best place to go was a cottage near his parents, which is isolated. He took all the necessary steps to avoid contact with people because his wife had the virus and he thought it likely he also had it.

“I can understand his feelings for his son and desire to safeguard him, so perhaps I have more sympathy with that viewpoint.”

Some critics of Mr Cummings have warned his actions could undermine efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 by weakening public support for social distancing measures.

Cllr Smith said he had recently seen photos of people congregating at Southend Beach, where they “did not seem to be doing a lot to maintain social distance”.

He added: “I and everyone I know are maintaining social distancing. I can only stress to people they should continue to do it.

“It seems strange to me that he is being condemned for doing what he did, whereas the journalists and cameramen surrounding his home were in a complete scrum and not maintaining social distancing whatsoever. There is an element of ‘don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house’ situation.”

Another Tory councillor, Cllr Chris Dey (Grange) said: “I’ve had no conversations with anyone in the party about this.

“I’ve had one resident contact me out of thousands of members of Grange ward. We’ve had an exchange of views – we’ve got slightly different stances – but I listened to what he had to say, I acknowledged he was angry and expressed my view.

“It is a matter for the Prime Minister. Dominic Cummings is not elected. The British public do not hold him to account – they hold the Prime Minister to account at a general election.

“I listened to Dominic Cummings’ statement and felt quite sorry for him – the way he was hounded by the press. It feels like a bit of a witch hunt. He’s just an adviser, at the end of the day, and he made the best decision for his family.

“It is just a bit of a non-story for me. I am far more concerned about the amount of people who are going to lose their jobs because of coronavirus and the impact on the economy, rather than what one adviser has done.”

Other members of the Conservative Group have been approached for comment.