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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson put his own authority on the line as he fought to save his most senior aide, Dominic Cummings, in the face of growing demands to fire the adviser for allegedly breaking lockdown rules.

Johnson said he understood why Cummings had traveled more than 250 miles (402 kilometers) to seek care for his 4-year-old child when he was supposedly self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms. The premier said that while he understood public anger and confusion, Cummings’s actions were “sensible and defensible.”

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