Dominic Cummings faces fresh calls to resign after new allegations of lockdown travel
British PM’s aide made a second 400km trip from lockdown in mid-April, reports say
Dominic Cummings departs his home in London on Saturday. Photograph: EPA
British prime minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings made a second 420km trip from London during the coronavirus lockdown, the Daily Mirror and Observer newspapers reported on Saturday.
Mr Johnson on Saturday resisted calls from opposition parties to sack Mr Cummings after it was revealed that he had travelled to northern England while his wife showed Covid-19 symptoms, to arrange child care for his young son.
According to a joint investigation by the Mirror and the Observer, Mr Cummings was seen in woodland near the northern city of Durham on April 19th, days after he had returned to London from his first trip in late March and early April.
Mr Cummings has said he “behaved reasonably and legally” when he travelled from his London home to Co Durham during the lockdown in late March, apparently in breach of government restrictions on travel.
Asked if he would consider his position, Mr Cummings said: “Obviously not.” He then chided reporters for being wrong about the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum.
“You guys are probably all about as right about that as you were about Brexit: do you remember how right you all were about that?” Mr Cummings said.
Ministers had earlier voiced support for the senior adviser.
I know how ill coronavirus makes you. It was entirely right for Dom Cummings to find childcare for his toddler, when both he and his wife were getting ill.— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) May 23, 2020
“I can tell you that the PM provides Mr Cummings with his full support,” transport secretary Grant Shapps told reporters, adding that he did not know when the prime minister found out about the journey.
Health secretary Hancock tweeted: “I know how ill coronavirus makes you. It was entirely right for Dom Cummings to find childcare for his toddler, when both he and his wife were getting ill.”
Downing Street said Cummings’s “actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines”.
Opposition parties have questioned why Cabinet ministers have defended Mr Cummings.
A Labour source said: “If these latest revelations are true, why on earth were Cabinet ministers sent out this afternoon to defend Dominic Cummings?
“We need an urgent investigation by the Cabinet Secretary to get to the bottom of this matter. It cannot be right that there is one rule for the Prime Minister’s adviser and another for the British people.”
Just a few days before Mr Cummings’ journey, Johnson imposed a lockdown in the UK and asked people to stay at home. He said on March 23rd that people “should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home”.
Shortly after Mr Johnson announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19, Mr Cummings sprinted out of Downing Street on March 27th and developed symptoms on the weekend of March 28th-29th.
Government guidelines say that those who have Covid-19 or suspect they have it should self-isolate for at least seven days along with their household and not leave their house for any reason.
The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats called for Cummings to be sacked.
Other prominent figures have resigned after breaking lockdown rules.
Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson quit as a member of the government’s scientific advisory group after he was visited at home by his girlfriend. Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, stepped down after she was caught making two trips to her second home. – Reuters, PA