THE Prime Minister's chief adviser says he "did not offer to resign" and refused to apologise after driving hundreds of miles in the midst of the UK lockdown.

Dominic Cummings hosted a press conference in the garden of Number Ten after facing pressure from the public, media, politicians and even Conservative party colleagues to step down over his behaviour.

Boris Johnson's aide gave his version of events, admitting to driving more than 260 miles from his home in London to a family-owned cottage in Durham, as well as taking walks with family while he was there.

Mr Cummings said stories suggested he had opposed lockdown and "did not care about many deaths", but he told reporters: "The truth is that I had argued for lockdown.

"I did not oppose it, but these stories had created a very bad atmosphere around my home, I was subjected to threats of violence, people came to my house shouting threats, there were posts on social media encouraging attacks."

Mr Cummings said he was worried that "this situation would get worse", and "I was worried about the possibility of leaving my wife and child at home all day and often into the night while I worked in Number 10".

"I thought the best thing to do in all the circumstances was to drive to an isolated cottage on my father's farm," he added.

The defence of his actions comes amid furious calls for him to resign or be sacked by Mr Johnson for travelling to County Durham in March to self-isolate with his family after his wife developed coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Cummings denied further reports which suggested he took a second trip to the North East on April 14.

He conceded that "reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in the circumstances", but said: "I don't regret what I did."

He added: "I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances. The rules made clear that if you are dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances.

"And I think that the situation that I was in was exceptional circumstances and the way that I dealt with it was the least risk to everybody concerned if my wife and I had both been unable to look after our four-year-old."

Following the press conference, he was asked if he would apologise for his actions - which happened in the middle of the UK lockdown in which his colleagues were urging people to "stay home, stay safe".

Mr Cummings was also accused of causing people to question whether "there is one rule for you, one of the most powerful people in this country, and there is another rule for them".

He said: "I don't think I'm so different and I don't think there is one rule for me and one rule for other people.

"As I said, I knew what the guidance was. It talks about exceptional circumstances with small children and I think that, in all the circumstances, I behaved reasonably and legally."

He said there was "understandable anger" as his actions were reported on by national newspapers but argued that some of the details in the articles "were wrong".

But, having given his version of events, one journalist said: "You've blamed the media for this mess you've got the Government into, but do you accept that whatever legal nicety you have to say you haven't broken the letter of these regulations, you've driven a coach and horses through the spirit of them and that is why people are so cross about it?"

Mr Cummings said he did not agree.

The journalist said: "You left London with your wife, who had coronavirus symptoms, completely against the regulations.

"You're up in Durham and you decide to go for a drive, on a weekend when a few yards from here the foreign secretary was telling us to stay at home and save lives.

"You went for a drive, you sat by a river, you went for a walk in the wood.

"You may or may not have a way of justifying this to yourself and, possibly, there may be some legal loophole.

"But you've broken the spirit of it, haven't you?"

Mr Cummings answered: "No, I don't think I have. Just to correct one thing; when we left my wife did not have a cough, she did not have a fever, those were the two symptoms that were mentioned.

"She was ill, she'd thrown up, but we didn't know whether or not she had Covid or not.

"Secondly, the walk in the woods was on private lands. I didn't leave our property to go for a walk in the woods and that's perfectly reasonable behaviour."

He had earlier said he stopped on the way back from Barnard Castle in the town of Teesdale.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said the press conference was "painful to watch".

"He clearly broke the rules, the Prime Minister has failed to act in the National interest. He should have never allowed this situation with a member of his staff," she added.