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Police quiz No 10 adviser

‘Second trip’ adds pressure on Cummings to quit

Dominic Cummings seen making a quick exit from Downing Street on 27 March a day before announcing he had Covid-19 symptoms

Updated 23 May: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings made a second 250 mile trip from London during the coronavirus lockdown, it has been claimed.

Opposition politicians have already demanded the resignation or sacking of Mr Cummings following allegations he travelled to Durham in March to visit his parents. The Sunday Mirror and Observer now claims there was a second visit last month, which has been dismissed by the government. He is also said to have been seen 30 miles from Durham.

Mr Cummings, who denied he had done anything wrong, is said to have been investigated by police for breaching the Government’s own lockdown rules. He was spotted by witnesses at his parents’ home.

He began suffering from coronavirus at the end of March which left him self-isolating with his wife, the journalist Mary Wakefield, and young son for 14 days.  

You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home

– UK Government advice

Downing Street claimed he was staying at his London home but following a joint investigation the Daily Mirror and The Guardian report that he was in the North of England.

Government advice, which became law on 26 March, stated: “You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home. The only exception is if they need help, such as having shopping or medication dropped off.”

Police confirmed they had visited an individual at an address in the city who they had learned had travelled to Durham from London during the lockdown to self-isolate.

They spoke to the family and reminded them that travelling to stay with relatives was in breach of the rules.  

On 5 April, a neighbour of Mr Cummings’ parents claims to have spotted him outside the property while passing for their daily exercise.

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A Labour source said No 10 needed to provide a “very swift explanation” for Mr Cummings’ actions.

“If accurate, the prime minister’s chief adviser appears to have breached the lockdown rules. The government’s guidance was very clear: stay at home and no non-essential travel.”

In a statement later, the party said: “The lockdown rules were very clear: if you or anyone in your household was suspected of having Covid-19 you must immediately self-isolate and not leave the house. However, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser appears to believe that it is one rule for him and another for the British people.

“This will cause understandable anger for the millions of people who have sacrificed so much during this crisis.

“Number 10’s statement also raises more questions than it answers. We are still unclear who knew about this decision and when, whether this was sanctioned by the Prime Minister and whether Number 10 is now questioning the validity of the statement from Durham Police.”

Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, added: “If Dominic Cummings has broken the guidelines he will have to resign, it is as simple as that.”

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford reacted angrily to the revelations. he said: “Dominic Cummings’ position is completely untenable – he must resign or be sacked.

“This is a key test of leadership for Boris Johnson. People must have confidence that the Tory government is following its own rules – not being investigated by the police for breaking them.

“Millions of people will find it completely incredible that Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser has been breaking his own government’s rules when the rest of us have all made huge sacrifices to obey them.”

He said the Tories had “vociferously demanded” the resignation of Catherine Calderwood as the Scottish Government’s former chief medical officer that same weekend after she was seen visiting her second home in Fife.

“As Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said at the time ‘There cannot be one rule for bosses and another for everyone else’.

“Boris Johnson must now show Dominic Cummings the door, otherwise people will conclude the Tories were so keen to leave lockdown because they weren’t following the rules in the first place.” 

Government scientist Prof Neil Ferguson quit earlier this month after he broke the strict rules to meet his married lover.

Comment: Johnson has let himself become the target in the Cummings affair

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