The Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings has defended making a 260-mile trip to be near relatives during the Coronavirus lockdown, saying he did the ‘right thing’.
Downing Street has said that Mr Cummings wanted to ensure he had childcare in case he got COVID-19 symptoms, though the Labour Party have said the explanation is not satisfactory. Downing Street 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 has faced calls to resign over the trip, including from Ian Blackford, the Scottish National party’s Westminster leader. Scotland’s former Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood and leading scientist Professor Neil Ferguson have previously resigned after breaking lockdown regulations.
Multiple members of the Cabinet have defended Mr Cummings’ actions, including the Health Secretary Matt Hancock who 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.”
However, the tweet by the Health Secretary appears to go against official advice, which states that you should not leave home for any reason if you or someone you live with has symptoms of the Coronavirus.
The trip being discussed was at the end of the March, at a time when the government was advising against all but essential travel. According to reports in a joint investigation by the Guardian and the Mirror, police in Durham spoke to Mr Cummings about breaching lockdown rules.
Speaking to reporters when asked about the trip, Mr Cummings claimed he “behaved reasonably and legally”.