JACKSON Carlaw has said he doesn’t believe Dominic Cummings’s excuses for breaking the coronavirus lockdown, further undermining Prime Minister’s defence of his top aide.

The Scottish Tory leader said Mr Cummings’s account was not “wholly convincing” and had left voters feeling “perplexed and angry”.

Despite a backbench revolt and voter outrage, the Prime Minister refused to sack his chief adviser last week after it emerged he broke the lockdown in March.

Mr Cummings drove 260 miles with his sick wife and their four-year-old from London to his family’s farm in Durham in order to get childcare. He later developed Covid.

Mr Cummings said this was an exceptional reason allowed by the guidance, despite those with Covid symptoms being instructed to self-isolate at home.

In a press conference in the Downing Street garden last Monday, Mr Cummings confirmed he and his family had also made a 60-mile round trip from Durham to Barnard Castle.

He claimed the visit, to a beauty spot on  April 12, his wife’s birthday, had been necessary to test whether his eyesight was good enough for the return drive to London.

He said he had never considered resigning, and Mr Johnson urged the public to “move on”.

However the eye-test excuse prompted yet more anger, and the following day Moray MP Douglas Ross quit as a Scotland Office minister, saying he could not justify Mr Cummings’s behaviour to his constituents.

The same day, Mr Carlaw said Mr Cummings should consider his position as he had become a “distraction” in the fight against Covid-19.

Polls have shown a sharp fall in the public’s trust in Mr Johnson’s government and a strong desire for Mr Cummings to leave his post for failing to follow the rules millions of others did.

In his first major interview since the row, Mr Carlaw told BBC Radio Scotland that, besides being a distraction, Mr Cummings also lacked credibility.

He said: “I believe that he should have gone. 

“I do believe that after we heard his explanation on the Monday, when he was able to give his version of events, it didn’t draw a line under things.

“I think it left people perplexed and angry, and the following day I gave interviews to various organisations where I made it clear I thought he should be considering his position, and he should have gone at that point. 

“The focus, as the First Minister has said, has to be entirely on the ongoing tackling of Covid, and I believe he’s proved a distraction to that task.”

Asked if he believed Mr Cumminsgs should have gone merely because he was a distraction, rather than for what he said in his justification, Mr Carlaw replied: “No, I don’t think that.

“I didn’t find the explanation at all wholly convincing. That too. 

“But over and above that, just as the First Minister felt with her own adviser [former Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood] that the focus had to be not on the actions of that individual, but on tackling the virus. So that has to be the absolute priority.”

Asked if he believed Mr Cumming’s explanation, the Eastwood MSP said: “That’s a matter for the Prime Minister to discuss. I didn’t find aspects of it wholly convincing.”

He also agreed he would struggle to justify his behaviour to his constituents.

“That is why I felt he should have considered his position, which is what I would have done had I been in his position.”

Asked if Mr Cummings was a fit person to be advising the Prime Minister. Mr Carlaw did not defend the aide, but said: “That’s a decision for the Prime Minister.

“I’m the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. I’m not responsible for the decisions of who th Prime Minister employs. I’m responsible for the party here in Scotland.”

He said he had made his feelings about Mr Cummings clear to Downing Street, but had not spoken directly to the Prime Minister about the issue.