Dominic Cummings.

Coronavirus: What did Dominic Cummings do during lockdown?

Boris Johnson’s chief aide has not been out of the headlines this Bank Holiday weekend; here’s everything you need to know.


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What did Dominic Cummings do?

At the height of the lockdown Mr Cummings drove his family 260 miles north from his London home to his parents’ estate in County Durham.

At the time he and his wife had Covid-19 symptoms.

While staying in a separate cottage on the estate Mr Cummings and his family visited Barnard Castle, a local tourist hotspot, to sit near a riverside.
Dominic Cummings in the Downing Street rose garden.

Why did he need to go 260 miles north?

The argument pushed by Number 10 is that Mr Cummings, fearing there would be no one to look after his four-year-old son if he and his wife became ill with coronavirus at the same time, travelled to be near his family.

Did that breach the guidance?

On March 22 UK Government guidance stated clearly: “People must remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.

“Leaving your home – the place you live – to stay at another home is not allowed.”

What is Mr Cummings’ explanation?

The aide has insisted he did not break the law, saying: “I believe that in all the circumstances I behaved reasonably and legally, balancing the safety of my family and the extreme situation in Number 10.”

He added that “the rules make clear that if you are dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances and the situation I was in was exceptional circumstances”.

What has Boris Johnson said?

The prime minister has been categorical in his defence, he said: “I do not believe anybody in Number 10 has done anything to undermine our messaging.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

What are others saying?

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a Cabinet Office inquiry, saying Mr Johnson had “failed a huge test” in not sacking Mr Cummings and was “treating the British public with contempt”.

Is this the end of the matter?

Cabinet ministers and right-wing commentators have taken to social media and the airwaves to say the matter is now closed and people should “move on”.

However, in the days ahead the issue will likely be raised time and time again by opposition MPs.

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