The prime minister’s chief aide Dominic Cummings is facing fresh allegations that he breached lockdown rules.He and therefore the government had said he acted “reasonably and legally” by driving from London to County Durham while his wife had coronavirus symptoms.
The Observer and Sunday Mirror are now reporting he was seen within the North East on two more occasions, after recovering from his own Covid-19 symptoms and returning to figure in London.
No 10 said the story is “inaccurate”.
Ministers have said Mr Cummings and his wife had chosen to self-isolate at a property adjacent to other relations just in case they needed help with childcare.
Speaking to reporters outside his range in London on Saturday, he said he wouldn’t be resigning and had done the “right thing” by travelling 260 miles together with his wife and young son to be near relatives when she developed Covid-19 symptoms at the top of March.
However, the 2 newspapers said witnesses have reported seeing Mr Cummings in Barnard Castle, quite 25 miles from Durham, on 12 April.
On 14 April, he was seen in London. consistent with the reports, he was spotted again in Houghall Woods near Durham on 19 April.
Mr Cummings is yet to publicly answer the new claims, but the Sunday Telegraph reports that he told Downing Street that the allegations he made a second trip from London to Durham were “totally false”.
But the BBC’s political correspondent Iain Watson says ministers are going to be hoping that questions on Mr Cummings’ movements won’t have dented charitable trust within the government’s lockdown guidance.
The story of Mr Cummings’ journey to Durham originally appeared within the Guardian and Daily Mirror on Friday evening.
In response to the fresh claims within the papers’ Sunday publications, Downing Street said: “Yesterday the Mirror and Guardian wrote inaccurate stories about Mr Cummings.
“Today they’re writing more inaccurate stories including claims that Mr Cummings returned to Durham after returning to figure in Downing Street on 14 April.”We won’t waste our time answering a stream of false allegations about Mr Cummings from campaigning newspapers.”
Opposition parties renewed their involves the prime minister’s adviser to travel .
The SNP’s Ian Blackford said Mr Cummings “has to go away office”, while acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey told BBC Radio 5 Live: “If Dominic Cummings has not been sacked by tomorrow, i feel the prime minister’s judgement is in serious doubt.”
Government advice had been for people to remain reception during the primary weeks of lockdown. Self-isolation reception continues to be advised for those with coronavirus symptoms.
However, ministers offered their support to Mr Cummings earlier within the day, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeting that it had been “entirely right” for the senior aide to seek out childcare.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove tweeted: “Caring for your wife and child isn’t a criminal offense .”
England’s deputy chief medic Dr Jenny Harries also said all health guidance should be applied with “common sense”.But following the fresh reports concerning the alleged second visit to County Durham, a Labour source said: “If these latest revelations are true, why on earth were Cabinet ministers sent out this afternoon to defend Dominic Cummings?”
Before the new allegations, both Labour and therefore the SNP said Mr Cummings flouted the government’s own advice and involved an urgent inquiry into his conduct.It comes because the government announced 282 more people had died with coronavirus since Friday, across all settings, bringing the entire to 36,675.
When asked by reporters outside his home on Saturday whether his travelling to Durham looked good, he said: “Who cares about good looks? it is a question of doing the proper thing. it isn’t about what you guys think.”
Asked whether he would reconsider his position, he said: “Obviously not.”
Mr Cummings masterminded the 2016 Vote Leave campaign before being made Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief political adviser.
Speaking at the Downing Street briefing on Saturday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the prime minster – who has not commented thus far – had “full confidence” in Mr Cummings.Mr Shapps will face further questions over the events when he appears on the the Sunday morning political television programmes.
The initial reports within the Guardian and therefore the Daily Mirror newspapers quoted police saying that they had spoken to a family in Durham on 31 March and about the “guidelines around self-isolation and reiterated the acceptable advice around essential travel”.
A statement by Downing Street was issued on Saturday, denying that police had spoken to Mr Cummings or his family “about this matter, as is being reported”.
Source: bbc news