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 in the Northeast twice more, after recovering from his own symptoms of Covid-19 and returning to work in London.
Number 10 said the story was “inaccurate.”
Downing Street also denied that the police discussed with Mr. Cummings’ family members “about this matter”.
But Durham police insist their officers spoke to Mr. Cummings’ father, who confirmed that his son had traveled with his family from London.
The Labor Party has called for an urgent investigation into these allegations.
Government ministers gathered around Mr. Cummings and defended his conduct.
They said that Mr. Cummings and his wife were right 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 morning, Cummings said he would not resign and did the “right thing” by traveling 260 miles with his wife and young son to be close to his family when she developed symptoms of Covid-19 in late March.
Later in the day, the two newspapers revealed that witnesses reported seeing Mr. Cummings at Barnard Castle, more than 25 miles from Durham, on April 12.
On April 14, he was seen in London. According to a witness, he was spotted at Houghall Woods near Durham on April 19.
Cummings has yet to respond publicly to the new allegations, but the Sunday Telegraph reports that he told Downing Street that he left Durham on April 13 and that the claim that he had made a second trip since London was “totally wrong”.
In response to the new claims, 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. “
BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said the ministers hoped that questions about Mr. Cummings’ movements would not have shaken public confidence in the government’s lockdown directives.
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 support to Mr. Cummings earlier today, along with Health Secretary Matt Hancock Tweeter that it was “perfectly fine” for the senior advisor to find child care.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove tweeted: “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 reporters asked outside his home on Saturday whether his trip to Durham looked good, he replied, “Who cares about beauty? It’s a matter of doing the right thing. It’s not what you think. “
When asked if he would reconsider his position, he replied, “Obviously not. “
Cummings organized the 2016 voting leave campaign before being appointed chief political adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Speaking at the Downing Street briefing on Saturday, Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said the Prime Minister – who has yet to comment – has “full confidence” in Mr. Cummings.
Shapps will face other questions about the events when he appears on political television on Sunday morning.
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 the police had spoken to Mr. Cummings or his family “about the matter, as reported.”
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 force statement.
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.
In other developments:
- Rising costs of coronavirus pandemic could see nursing homes in England “going to the wall”, warned industry leaders
- People arriving in France from the United Kingdom from June 8 will have to quarantine for 14 days
- Government pledged to spend £ 283 million on improving safety and restoring bus and light rail services during the pandemic
- DAVID ATTENBOROUGH’S MIXTURE MIX: soothing sounds to escape
- EARTHED WITH LOUIS THEROUX: What is Lenny Henry doing locked out?