Downing Street say Dominic Cummings did not breach lockdown

Downing Street has defended Dominic Cummings after he was accused of breaching lockdown rules by travelling 250 miles to his parents home with coronavirus symptoms.

The PM’s chief adviser faced calls to be sacked after it emerged that he drove from London to Durham with his wife and children at the beginning of April, when stringent travel restrictions were imposed.

The government has ordered anyone with coronavirus symptoms to self-isolate at home and not leave – even for essential supplies – for seven days. Boris Johnson said in March that children should not be left with older grandparents or older relatives ‘who may be particularly vulnerable or fall into some of the vulnerable groups’.

But No10 said Mr Cummings, 48, behaved ‘in line with coronavirus guidelines’ as he needed childcare in a statement issued today.

They have also denied allegations that he was spoken to by police after being spotted by neighbours in Durham.

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The statement said: ‘Owing to his wife being infected with suspected Coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.


epa08438725 (FILE) - Special advisor to the British Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings walks in Whitehall in London, Britain, 08 May 2020 (reissued 23 May 2020). Cummings has come under pressure after it has been reported that he allegedly broke lockdown rules that were in place against the spread of COVID-19. EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA
Downing Street say Dominic Cummings did not breach lockdown by travelling 250 miles to his parents home with coronavirus symptoms (Picture: EPA)

 ‘His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed. His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside.

‘At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported. His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.’

Police confirmed they did attended a property in County Durham but did not name who they spoke to.

The Downing Street statement was swiftly followed by a statement from Durham police, who said it was ‘unwise’ for the PM’s aide to have travelled across the country with symptoms of the dealy virus.

The statement said: ‘Given the whole ethos of the guidance and regulations was designed to reduce the spread, regardless of reason, by travelling to County Durham when known to be infected was most unwise.


A poster calling for Dominic Cummings to resign after he was accused of breaching lockdown rules
Dominic Cummings is facing calls to resign or be sacked over his apparent breach of lockdown rules (Picture: Rex)

‘To beat this crisis we need to be selfless as millions have been. The response by the people of Durham has been exemplary which makes this most frustrating and concerning.’

The Mirror and the Guardian revealed on Friday evening how Mr Cummings was spotted at his parents’ home in Durham on April 5, days after he was pictured rushing out of Downing Street when Boris Johnson tested positive for Covid-19.

On March 30 the government confirmed the PM’s adviser had gone into self-isolation. The following day a Number 10 spokesman said: ‘He is at home, he is self-isolating, he has some symptoms’.

The Brexiteer political strategist was reportedly spotted in the back garden of a Durham property blasting Abba’s Dancing Queen. That same day Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood resigned after apologising for visiting her second home on two occasions.

Several senior Tories have jumped to Mr Cummings’ defence, including cabinet minister Micheal Gove, who tweeted: Caring for your wife is not a crime’.

However, others are accusing Downing Street of a ‘cover up’ amid reports that No 10 knew he made the 264-mile journey after developing symptoms of coronavirus.

The BBC reported that an anonymous source close to Cummings had claimed that a ‘small number of people in No 10 knew that Cummings had gone to Durham’, prompting Opposition MPs to accuse Downing Street of trying to suppress the story.

Downing Street did not say where Mr Cummings was self-isolating when they confirmed he had symptoms, and repeatedly refused to answer questions put to them by The Guardian, the newspaper said.

Britons abiding by the government’s lockdown measures have slammed the hypocrisy’ of the Prime Minister’s chief adviser.

Opposition parties are repeating calls for the PM’s top aide to be sacked.

Westminster SNP leader Ian Blackford said: ‘What I find interesting … is that members of Downing Street knew about this, so first and foremost Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer over what now appears to be a cover-up.’

A Labour party spokesperson said: ‘We are still waiting for a clear explanation from No 10 about Dominic Cummings’ actions. The public have made extraordinary sacrifices during this pandemic and the lockdown. It cannot be one rule for those who set them and another for the British people.’

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Source: Metro