Downing Street feeling the heat as pressure grows on PM to sack Cummings

Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson
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Lockdown questions continue to bombard the government going into the bank holiday weekend as the prime minister faces pressure to sack his closest aide, Dominic Cummings. Pressure has mounted following reports Cummings broke coronavirus (Covid-19)-related travel restrictions.

Police have confirmed Dominic Cummings and his wife attended the family property in County Durham. This was after allegations emerged that Cummings travelled more than 260 miles from his London home during the lockdown that his boss put in place across England.

Political leaders have piled pressure on Johnson to sack the 48-year-old strategist. The matter is bound to irritate the public as people face another bank holiday weekend apart from family members.

 

 

Reports from Durham police

Cummings’ reported Durham developments have added to scrutiny on No 10. According to a joint investigation by the Daily Mirror and the Guardian, at the same time as the UK government was instructing people to remain home – with fines in place for those contravening the rules – Cummings reportedly decided to escape the capital.

Cummings is alleged to have been present at his family home in the North East when police from Durham Constabulary turned up on 31 March, following a call from someone reporting they had seen Cummings in the area.

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Durham police confirmed officers had spoken to the owners of an address in the city after reports a person had travelled there from London. A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said:

On Tuesday, 31 March, our officers were made aware of reports that an individual had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.

Officers made contact with the owners of that address who confirmed that the individual in question was present and was self-isolating in part of the house.

In line with national policing guidance, officers explained to the family the arrangements around self-isolation guidelines and reiterated the appropriate advice around essential travel.

Downing Street had previously confirmed Cummings had started displaying coronavirus symptoms “over the weekend” of 28-29 March.

The same day as police spoke with members of Cummings’ family, his boss Johnson was admitted to hospital with coronavirus. According to the two papers, Cummings was spotted a second time at the Durham property on 5 April.

Calls to resign

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP said the aide’s position was “completely untenable”. “He must resign or be sacked,” he added. Sir Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, called for Cummings to quit over the allegations:

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Labour said:

The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings.

But friends of Cummings suggested he would be going nowhere. Close friends told the PA news agency dismissed the story as “fake news”:

He isn’t remotely bothered by this story, it’s more fake news from the Guardian.

There is zero chance of him resigning.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, however, has confirmed on Twitter that Cummings did in fact travel to Durham with his family:

PM’s chief adviser did travel from London to County Durham during lockdown when he and his wife had coronavirus to stay in a separate building at his family’s farm, a source close to him confirms – source says it is not true that he was spoken to by police

Downing Street has so far refused to comment.

Featured image via screengrab and screengrab

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