The Victorian Premier, John Brumby, said the former police chief commissioner, Christine Nixon, made an ”error of judgment” by leaving the state’s emergency control centre at the height of the Black Saturday bushfire crisis to have a pub meal with friends.But Mr Brumby and the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, are backing Ms Nixon to keep her job as bushfire reconstruction chief, in the face of an avalanche of criticism of her performance on Black Saturday. Ms Nixon, clearly shaken by the furore, yesterday rejected calls for her dismissal.She conceded she had made mistakes in the control centre on Black Saturday, but defended her decision to go home about 6pm and then have dinner with friends in North Melbourne.”I had to eat – it’s as simple as that,” she said. Suggestions that the meal with her husband and another couple was some sort of party or celebration were ”a disgrace”.Mr Brumby said Ms Nixon should have stayed at the incident control centre. ”She made an error of judgment,” he said, but added: ”I don’t think that affects the great work that she’s done as chair of the bushfire reconstruction authority.”Cabinet ministers are also rallying around Ms Nixon, fearful that the royal commission’s investigation of how the crisis was handled could damage the government in the lead-up to November’s state election.After Ms Nixon faced tough questioning at the bushfires royal commission on Tuesday, Mr Brumby and the Minister for Police, Bob Cameron, may now be called to testify about how they performed their roles as 173 people died on February 7 last year.The opposition and the Police Association yesterday led a chorus of calls for Ms Nixon to go.Ms Nixon pointed out that she was not rostered for work that day and she spent only about an hour at the hotel before going home to monitor fire updates.