A grieving listener called Gurvinder from Slough, Berks, called LBC Radio to challenge the Prime Minister about his support for his top aide, who was accused of breaking strict Covid-19 rules.
Gurvinder told the Conservative leader he did not see his mum before she died because the family obeyed rules.
He said: “My mum and dad, they took the rule very seriously for this lockdown.
“In the end I hadn’t seen my mother for about a month and she passed away.
“Then you’ve got people like Dominic Cummings who make the rules, tell us to follow them and they don’t really care about them themselves, and they don’t follow them themselves.
“How do you expect the public to follow the rules if the people setting the rules don’t really care about them themselves?”
Mr Johnson spluttered: “I think as I have said many times, in that particular case that you mentioned, I think Durham Police did say there was no action that they wanted to take – though I really, really do understand people’s feelings about that.”
He told Gurvinder: “I thank you for the way you have observed the rules, I really, really do and I am so sorry about the loss of your mum.”
The Mirror revealed in May how during lockdown Mr Cummings drove 260 miles from London to Durham, and took a 60-mile round trip from the city to Barnard Castle on his wife’s birthday.
Police said he may have committed a “minor breach” of lockdown.
In today’s wide-ranging interview, the PM revealed he owns a Florence Nightingale face mask which makes him look like Hannibal Lecter.
Flashing his personal protection, he said: “I’ve got an ample supply of face coverings.
“It’s sort of a bit Hannibal the Cannibal, this thing I’ve got.
“I’m not going to put it on. It’s actually Florence Nightingale. It looks pretty scary when I put it on.”
He would refuse to “take a knee” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, he signalled.
“I don’t believe in gestures, I believe in substance,” he said.
The PM indicated he would promote a black minister when reshuffles his the Cabinet this year.
He said: “Of course we can do more and we will do more. We need to make progress and we will.
“I think about this a lot. It is something I want to get right. We need to reflect the country we serve.”
He confirmed televised White House-style daily press briefings from Downing Street this autumn, following the popular coronavirus briefings.
“People have liked a more direct, detailed information from the Government about what is going on, and I think that they’ve actually particularly liked our brilliant scientific and medical advisers, possibly more than the politicians,” he said.
“We do think that people want direct engagement and want stuff from us, and so we’re going to have a go at that.”
The PM, 56, also gushed about his “wonderful kid”, baby Wilfred.
He and fiancee Carrie Symonds, 31, welcomed the lad’s arrival in April – and Mr Johnson declared himself a “pretty hands on” dad.