British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to be questioned by senior MPs over the coronavirus crisis as calls for his key adviser to resign continue to grow.
Johnson will be quizzed on Wednesday at a Commons committee meeting on the decision of his top aide, Dominic Cummings, to drive 400km from London to Durham during the shutdown.
It comes amid a growing revolt in Johnson's Conservative party, with at least 30 Tory MPs having now publicly called for Cummings to be sacked or to resign.
And a YouGov survey for The Times showed the Conservative lead over Labour dropped by nine points during the Cummings saga, as support for the Government fell four points to 44 per cent with Labour rising five points in the week to Tuesday, to 38 per cent.
On Tuesday, Douglas Ross, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, quit the government, saying he could not "in good faith" defend Cummings' actions.
Senior ministers have expressed public support for the defiant adviser but there are reports a number of Cabinet members have privately called for him to be ousted from No 10.
Johnson's scheduled appearance via video link at Wednesday's Commons Liaison Committee hearing has been tinged with controversy over the fact the PM will only briefly be quizzed on the Cummings affair.
It is understood MPs will have a maximum of 20 minutes in a 90-minute session to probe the situation.
Other aspects of the coronavirus crisis will also be discussed in the 20-minute slot.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to speak to the Treasury about whether fines imposed on families travelling for childcare purposes during lockdown should be reviewed in light of the Cummings controversy
Cummings said he had driven to Durham to isolate in a property on his father's farm because of concerns over care for his four-year-old son if both he and his wife were incapacitated by Covid-19.
Australian Associated Press