Dominic Cummings reportedly made a second 250-mile trip during the coronavirus lockdown
Boris Johnson’s senior adviser was spotted with his wife in Houghall Woods near the family’s home in Durham on April 19 – two weeks after he was first spotted there.
Cummings on Saturday refused to resign and said he acted legally and responsibly.
A joint investigation by the Sunday Mirror and Observer claims Mr Cummings was spotted for a second time after he had recovered himself from COVID-19.
One local couple told the newspaper they saw him while out walking in Houghall Woods near his parents’ home on Sunday April 19.
Mr Cummings had been pictured in Downing Street on April 14 after he had returned home from his first trip.
The cuple told the Mirror: “We were shocked and surprised to see him because the last time we did was earlier in the week in Downing Street.
“We thought ‘He’s not supposed to be here during the lockdown’.
“We thought ‘What double standards, one rule for him as a senior adviser to the Prime Minister and another for the rest of us’.”
Mr Cummings was reportedly wearing his trademark beanie hat and outdoor clothing when he was spotted for the second time.
The local couple maintained the social distancing rule of a two metre distance from him and a woman believed to be his wife, before Mr Commungs commented: “Aren’t the bluebells lovely?”
Downing Street declined to comment, and referred Express.co.uk back to the statement released earlier today.
It has already been reported that Mr Cummings made a 250-mile trip from London to Durham in late March while his wife was displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
According to a joint investigation by the Guardian and Daily Mirror, Mr Cummings was spotted twice in the North East over the course of almost a week, between March 31 and April 5.
The Prime Minister’s office said Mr Cummings made the journey to the North East ensure his four-year-old son could be properly cared for as his wife was ill with COVID-19 and there was a “high likelihood” that the chief adviser would himself become unwell.
Earlier, Mr Cummings insisted he “behaved reasonably and legally” when he made the 250-mile trip during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
When a reporter suggested to him outside his home in the capital the trip to the North East did not look good, Mr Cummings replied: “Who cares about good looks.
“It’s a question of doing the right thing. It’s not about what you guys think.”
These comments come after Downing Street said the actions of Mr Cummings were in line with guidelines, and reports that his family were spoken to by police were incorrect.
Number 10 said in a statement: “Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.
“His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed.
“His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside.
“At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported.
“His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.”
During the daily coronavirus briefing from Downing Street earlier today, Transport Secretary said Mr Johnson was providing Mr Cummings with his “full support”.
But pressure is growing on the Prime Minister to take action, with calls intensifying for Mr Cummings to resign from his role.
The Labour Party has written to the head of the civil service to call for an urgent inquiry into the actions of Mr Johnson’s chief adviser.
In a letter to Sir Mark Sedwill, Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said: “The British people have made important and painful sacrifices to support the national effort, including being away from family in times of need.
“It is therefore vital that the Government can reassure the public that its most senior figures have been adhering to the same rules as everyone else.”
Labour also claim the explanation from Number 10 for Mr Cummings’ behaviour “raised more questions than they answer”.
This includes when the Prime Minister was made aware of the decision from Mr Cummings to travel from London to Durham during lockdown.
The letter adds: The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for the Prime Minister’s most senior adviser.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has called on Sir Mark to investigate the “rule-breaking and the Tory Government’s cover-up” of Mr Cummings’ lockdown journey to Durham.
In a letter to the head of the civil service, Mr Blackford highlighted the “matter of serious public concern” with several questions for Mr Johnson, including when he found out about his adviser’s trip and what role the Government played in “keeping the public in the dark for eight weeks”.
This is a breaking story. More to follow…
Published at Sat, 23 May 2020 19:20:00 +0000