Labour call for action after reports police spoke to Dominic Cummings over breaking lockdown rules

Labour has urged Downing Street to provide a “very swift explanation” after reports suggested the prime minister’s top aide Dominic Cummings was spoken to by police for flouting lockdown rules to travel to Durham. Officers allegedly approached Boris Johnson’s key adviser to explain the advice against non-essential travel during lockdown after he was spotted some 375km north of the capital by a member of the public. No 10 confirmed that Mr Cummings was self isolating after developing coronavirus symptoms at the end of March – shortly after he was seen running out of Downing Street following the news that Mr Johnson and Matt Hancock had been struck down by the virus.

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Downing Street was repeatedly asked by journalists about Mr Cummings’s whereabouts during his period of isolation but the prime minister’s official spokesman would only say that he was “in contact with No 10”.

A joint report by the Daily Mirror and The Guardian has now claimed that Mr Cummings had travelled to his parents home in County Durham – despite government instructions to stay at home.

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Mr Cummings was reportedly seen at the property with his young son on 5 April, the same day the prime minister was admitted to hospital with coronavirus. The sighting was also the same day that Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood stepped down after breaching lockdown rules to visit her second home.

Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the government’s scientific advisers, also had to resign from his post after flouting guidance to visit his married lover.

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

“The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings. No 10 needs to provide a very swift explanation for his actions.”

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Ed Davey, the acting Liberal Democrat leader, said: “If Dominic Cummings has broken the lockdown guidelines he will have to resign.

It’s as simple as that.”

Lockdown rules were announced by the prime minister on 23 March, which banned all but essential travel and carried fines of ?60 for breaches. On 27 March, Mr Johnson was revealed to be suffering with coronavirus. Mr Cummings was seen dashing out of No 10 shortly after the announcement.

His wife Mary Wakefield recently wrote in The Spectator that he began to feel unwell around 24 hours after he rushed home to be with her.

But a member of the public reportedly spotted Mr Cummings in Durham on 31 March and complained to the police. A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said: “On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware of reports that an individual had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.

“Officers made contact with the owners of that address who confirmed that the individual in question was present and was self-isolating in part of the house.

“In line with national policing guidance, officers explained to the family the guidelines around self-isolation and reiterated the appropriate advice around essential travel.”

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Jack Dodsley, 79, with a carer in PPE at Newfield Nursing Home

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Jackie Wilson, a healthcare assistant, wearing PPE before going into rooms

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Jack Dodsley, 79, speaks to a carer at Newfield Nursing Home

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Carers working at Newfield Nursing Home

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A care worker wearing PPE opens a drink carton

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Jack Dodsley, 79, sits with a carer

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Jack Dodsley, 79, with a carer in PPE

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A care staff member wearing PPE

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A staff member at Newfield Nursing Home looks after a resident

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A carer wearing PPE uses a speaker

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A carer helps Jack Dodsley, 79, from his chair

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A carer wearing PPE helps Jack Dodsley, 79

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A staff member at Newfield Nursing Home

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A carer brings food to a resident at Newfield Nursing Home

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Jack Dodsley, 79, with a carer in PPE

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A staff member puts on PPE at Newfield Nursing Home

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Jackie Wilson, a healthcare assistant, puts on PPE before she enters a room

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A bench at Newfield Nursing Home

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Jack Dodsley, 79, with a carer in PPE at Newfield Nursing Home

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Jackie Wilson, a healthcare assistant, wearing PPE before going into rooms

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Jack Dodsley, 79, speaks to a carer at Newfield Nursing Home

Tom Maddick/SWNS

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Carers working at Newfield Nursing Home

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A care worker wearing PPE opens a drink carton

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Jack Dodsley, 79, sits with a carer

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Jack Dodsley, 79, with a carer in PPE

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A care staff member wearing PPE

Tom Maddick/SWNS

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A staff member at Newfield Nursing Home looks after a resident

SWNS

10/18

A carer wearing PPE uses a speaker

Tom Maddick/SWNS

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A carer helps Jack Dodsley, 79, from his chair

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A carer wearing PPE helps Jack Dodsley, 79

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A staff member at Newfield Nursing Home

Tom Maddick/SWNS

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A carer brings food to a resident at Newfield Nursing Home

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Jack Dodsley, 79, with a carer in PPE

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A staff member puts on PPE at Newfield Nursing Home

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Jackie Wilson, a healthcare assistant, puts on PPE before she enters a room

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A bench at Newfield Nursing Home

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A neighbour then reportedly spotted Mr Cummings at his parents’ house on 5 April after hearing Abba blasting from the garden. The neighbour, who has not been named, said: “I got the shock of my life, as I looked over to the gates and saw him.

“There was a child, presumably his little boy, running around in front.

I recognised Dominic Cummings, he’s a very distinctive figure.”

They added: “I was really annoyed.

I thought it’s okay for you to drive all the way up to Durham and escape from London.

“I sympathise with him wanting to do that but other people are not allowed to do that.

It’s one rule for Dominic Cummings and one rule for the rest of us.”

Mr Cummings was next seen in Downing Street on 14 April, where he was photographed entering the building clutching a packed lunch.

Downing Street has not responded to requests for comment.

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