Coronavirus: Dominic Cummings “takes a second lockdown trip”


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Media captionDominic Cummings: “Who cares about beauty? It’s about doing the right thing. “

Prime Minister Dominic Cummings’ chief aide faces new allegations that he has broken the lock rules.

He and the government said he acted “reasonably and lawfully” while driving from London to County Durham when his wife had symptoms of coronavirus.

But the Observer and Sunday Mirror now report that he was seen a second time in the northeast, after recovering from his own Covid-19 symptoms and returning to work in London.

Number 10 said the story was “inaccurate.”

The ministers said that Mr. Cummings and his wife had chosen to isolate themselves on a property adjacent to other family members in case they needed help with child care.

Speaking to reporters outside his London home on Saturday, he said he would not resign and did the “right thing” by traveling 260 miles with his wife and young son to be close to her family when she developed symptoms of Covid-19.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps justified the adviser’s trip, saying he “stayed in one place” and was looking for child care support.

But the Observer and the Sunday Mirror said witnesses reported seeing Mr. Cummings at Barnard Castle, more than 25 miles from Durham, on April 12.

On April 14, he was seen again at work in London. According to newspapers, he was seen again at Houghall Woods near Durham on April 19.

Cummings has yet to respond to the new complaints.

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The story of Mr. Cummings’ trip to Durham was originally published in the Guardian and Daily Mirror on Friday evening.

Responding to new claims in the Sunday newspapers, Downing Street said: “Yesterday the Mirror and Guardian wrote inaccurate stories about Mr. Cummings.

“Today they are writing more inaccurate stories, including allegations that Mr. Cummings returned to Durham after he returned to work at Downing Street on April 14.

“We will not waste our time responding to a flood of false allegations about Mr. Cummings in the newspapers in the field. “

Opposition parties have renewed their call for the Prime Minister’s adviser to leave.

Ian Blackford of the SNP said that Mr. Cummings “must step down” while interim Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey told BBC Radio 5 Live: “If Dominic Cummings has not been sacked by tomorrow, I think the Prime Minister’s judgment is seriously questioned. “

The government had advised people to stay at home for the first few weeks of isolation. Self-isolation at home continues to be recommended for people with symptoms of coronavirus.

However, ministers offered their support to Mr. Cummings earlier today, with Cabinet Minister Michael Gove tweeting: “Caring for your wife and child is not a crime. “

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr. Jenny Harries, also said that all health recommendations should be followed “with common sense.”

But following new reports of the alleged second visit to County Durham, a Labor source said, “If these latest revelations are true, why the hell were ministers sent this afternoon to defend Dominic Cummings? “

Prior to the new allegations, Labor and the SNP said that Mr. Cummings had flouted the government’s own advice and demanded an urgent investigation into his conduct.

This comes as the government announced that 282 more people had died from the coronavirus since Friday, in all settings, bringing the total to 36,675.

When approached by reporters outside his home on Saturday, Cummings said he “behaved reasonably and lawfully” when questioned about the London to Durham trip that took place end of March.

When asked if it looked good, he replied, “Who cares about beauty? It’s about doing the right thing. It’s not what you think. “

The journalists then asked him if he was going to consider his position, and he replied: “Obviously not. “

“You are probably quite right about it as you were about Brexit: do you remember how right you were about it,” he added.

PM support

Cummings organized the 2016 voting leave campaign before being appointed chief political adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Prime Minister – who has not commented so far – had “full confidence” in Mr. Cummings, following calls from the SNP and the Scottish Labor Party to whether he resigns or is dismissed.

Durham police and crime commissioner Steve White said it was “unwise” for Mr. Cummings to make the trip “given all the ethics” of the government directives.

Initial reports in The Guardian and Daily Mirror cited police saying they spoke to a family in Durham on March 31 and “self-isolation guidelines and reiterating proper advice regarding essential travel”.

A Downing Street statement was released on Saturday, denying that the police spoke to Mr. Cummings or his family “about the matter”.

In an updated statement Saturday night, Durham police said the police learned of his trip on March 31 and spoke to Mr. Cummings’ father the next day.

“During this conversation, Mr. Cummings’ father confirmed that his son had traveled with his family from North East London and was secluded in part of the property.

“Durham Constabulary felt that no further action was necessary. However, the officer provided advice on security matters, “said a police statement.

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