Dominic Cummings Defends His 250 Mile Trip During Lockdown And Claims He Broke No Rules
Dominic Cummings has defended his 250 mile trip during the coronavirus lockdown, claiming he broke no rules.
Cummings, who works as Boris Johnson's top political advisor, addressed the nation today after he sparked anger by seemingly breaching lockdown rules and travelling from London to County Durham, where some of his family members live, after his wife became unwell.
The 48-year-old explained he made the decision to drive to the farm his parents own and stay in an isolated cottage '50 metres' away from any other properties.
Mr Cummings claimed that this was because if he and his wife became unwell with Covid-19, his sister or two nieces could look after the couple's four-year-old son.
Speaking in a conference in Downing Street's garden, Mr Cummings said that he 'behaved reasonably', adding: "I don't regret what I did. Reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do.
"I think what I did was reasonable in these circumstances. In terms of the rules, I think the rules made clear if you're dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances.
"I think the way I dealt with it was the least risk to everybody concerned if my wife and I were unable to look after our four-year-old."
Mr Cummings went on to address his trip to Barnard Castle which is around 30 miles from Durham, justifying it as a trip to 'test his eyesight'.
He insisted that before driving back to London, following the period of isolation, Mr Cummings wanted to check he was fit to make the 250 mile drive back to the capital so drove to a beauty spot before sitting by the river in order to recover from a brief bout of sickness - which was when he was seen.
He went on to add: "My wife was very worried, particularly because my eyesight seemed to have been affected by the disease. She didn't want to risk a nearly 300 mile drive with our child, given how ill I had been.
"We agreed to go for a short drive to see if I could drive safely. I drove for roughly half an hour and we ended up on the outskirts of Barnard Castle town.
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"We didn't visit the castle, we didn't walk around the town. We parked by a river. My wife and I discussed the situation, we agreed I could drive safely and we turn around and go home.
"I felt a bit sick. We walked about 10-15 metres from the car to the riverbank nearby. We sat there for 15 minutes and had no interactions with anybody. I felt better, we returned to the car."
Many people have called for his resignation and when he was asked whether he considered resignation he told reporters: "I have not offered to resign. I have not considered it."
This comes after yesterday (24 May), Boris Johnson stood by his senior aide saying that he acted 'responsibly and legally' when he made the trip.
The PM explained in Sunday's media briefing: "I can tell you today that I've had extensive face-to-face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I've concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus and when he had no alternative, I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent and I do not mark him down for that."
Despite the Prime Minister standing by Mr Cummings, Durham Police have been formally asked to 'establish the facts' around the visit - which will include finding out whether he broke the law.
Acting Durham Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner, Steve White said: "In relation to the incident where Dominic Cummings visited Durham during lockdown Durham Constabulary acted appropriately.
"Given the whole ethos of the guidance and regulations issued from the Government was to reduce the spread, regardless of reason, by travelling to County Durham when known to be infected was most unwise.
"To beat this crisis we need to be selfless as millions have been. The response by the people of County Durham and Darlington have been exemplary, which makes this most frustrating and concerning.
"Incidents such as this do not help, and I can appreciate that the longer this goes on the harder it gets, but I encourage the people of County Durham and Darlington to keep up the outstanding effort seen so far by using common sense when following the guidance to stay alert and continue to social distance."
In an additional statement, he added: "It is clear however that there is a plethora of additional information circulating in the public domain which deserves appropriate examination.
"I have today written to the Chief Constable, asking her to establish the facts concerning any potential breach of the law or regulations in this matter at any juncture.
"It is vital that the Force can show it has the interests of the people of County Durham and Darlington at its heart, so that the model of policing by consent, independent of government but answerable to the law, is maintained.
"It will be for the Chief Constable to determine the operational response to this request and I am confident that with the resources at its disposal, the Force can show proportionality and fairness in what has become a major issue of public interest and trust."
Featured Image Credit: BBC