MOST people in the UK believe Dominic Cummings must resign, a poll has found, after he and his family travelled more than 260 miles during lockdown.

The snap YouGov survey was carried out before fresh witness reports suggested Boris Johnson's top aide had made a second visit to Durham from London despite rules to stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It found that 52% believe Cummings should resign, while 68% said he had broken the rules.

The Prime Minister's adviser is under pressure to step down after it emerged he had journeyed from the English capital to the north east city with his wife and four-year-old child at the end of March.

Downing Street has defended Cummings saying he made the journey seek help from his family with childcare after his wife fell ill with Covid 19 and he feared he would contract it, which he did According to reports today in the Observer and Sunday Mirror, the former Vote Leave campaign co-ordinator made a second trip to Durham and was seen there on April 19 - five days after being photographed on his return to Westminster.

A second eyewitness told the two papers they saw him a week earlier in Barnard Castle on Easter Sunday, a popular tourist location 30 miles away from Durham, during the period he was believed to be self-isolating after contracting the virus.

READ MORE: Tory MPs tell Boris Johnson he must sack Dominic Cummings

Today Conservative MPs have been ramping up the pressure on Johnson to sack the top aide amid the new allegations.

Backbench Tories, including prominent 1922 Committee member Steve Baker and Brexiteer, said Cummings "must go", but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said reports of a second trip were "not true".

The PM pledged his "full support" on Saturday to his under-fire chief adviser.

According to the Sunday Times, the Conservative Party leader told allies he would not throw Cummings "to the dogs".

Braintree and Witham Times:

Downing Street has said it would "not waste time" replying to the fresh allegations from "campaigning newspapers".

But Baker told Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: "If he doesn't resign, we'll just keep burning through Boris's political capital at a rate we can ill afford in the midst of this crisis.

"It is very clear that Dominic travelled when everybody else understood Dominic's slogans to mean 'stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives'."

Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, said: "Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don't apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt.

"The Government would be better without him."

Shapps, who was also sent out to defend Cummings at the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing on Saturday, faced questioning on the adviser's actions on Sunday but admitted he had not spoken to him beforehand.

He told Sophy Ridge: "I'm afraid I don't know (about Barnard Castle) but if that date was true that would have been outside the 14-day period. But I'm afraid I don't have the information on that.

"But I do know it is not the case that he has travelled backwards and forwards, which seemed to be a major part of the stories I saw in the paper today."

READ MORE: Tory minister suggests public were misled about Boris Johnson's illness

Pressed by the BBC's Andrew Marr on whether there was an "extreme risk to life", Shapps added: "A four-year-old can't feed themselves, a four-year-old can't bathe themselves and change their clothes, so it is clear they wanted to put some measures in place."

On Saturday, deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said everyone should self-isolate unless there was a risk to life.

Cummings masterminded the 2016 Vote Leave campaign before being made the Prime Minister's chief political adviser.