Dominic Cummings accused of breaking lockdown a SECOND time to see parents days after return to Downing St

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DOMINIC Cummings was accused of flouting the lockdown for a SECOND time tonight as a witness claimed he was spotted visiting his parents in Durham after he returned to work in Downing Street.

Another witness claimed he saw Boris Johnson’s chief adviser at a beauty spot 30 miles away when he says he was self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms, according to reports.

Mr Cummings was spotted in Durham for a second time after he had recovered from Covid-19, it has been reported

The latest bombshell claims call into question Downing Street’s statements backing Cummings after it emerged he travelled 260 miles to the property owned by his parents in late-March.

Boris Johnson has vowed he will not “throw him to the dogs” by bowing to pressure to sack him, reports the Sunday Times.

But Cummings was hit by another blow as police insisted they did speak to his family – contradicting Downing Street’s denial this morning.

Cummings, the architect of the victorious Leave campaign, was photographed in Downing Street on April 14 after returning to work following his recovery from suspected coronavirus.

But it is now alleged he once again travelled to the North East of England days later.

Walkers said they were shocked when they saw him with his wife in Houghall Woods on April 19, the Sunday Mirror reports.

One resident who was not named claimed the political strategist said as he walked past: “Aren’t the bluebells lovely?”

‘ONE RULE FOR HIM’

The witness told the Mirror: “We thought ‘What double standards, one rule for him as a senior adviser to the Prime Minister and another for the rest of us’.”

A second eyewitness told the Observer he also saw Cummings a week earlier on Easter Sunday at Barnard Castle, a popular tourist location 30 miles away from Durham.

Robin Lees, 70, a retired chemistry teacher from the town, said: “I was a bit gobsmacked to see him, because I know what he looks like.

“And the rest of the family seemed to match – a wife and child. I was pretty convinced it was him and it didn’t seem right because I assumed he would be in London.”

Tonight Downing Street hit back at the “inaccurate” reports in the left-wing papers.

A spokesman said: “Yesterday the Mirror and Guardian wrote inaccurate stories about Mr Cummings.

“Today they are writing more inaccurate stories including claims that Mr Cummings returned to Durham after returning to work in Downing Street on 14 April.

“We will not waste our time answering a stream of false allegations about Mr Cummings from campaigning newspapers.”

It came as Durham Constabulary tonight confirmed they did speak to Cummings’ father about his alleged lockdown breach.

The force said: “On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware that Dominic Cummings had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.

“At the request of Mr Cummings’ father, an officer made contact the following morning by telephone.

“During that conversation, Mr Cummings’ father confirmed that his son had travelled with his family from London to the North-East and was self-isolating in part of the property.

“Durham Constabulary deemed that no further action was required. However, the officer did provide advice in relation to security issues.”

Earlier Downing St denied that police had spoken to anyone in Cummings’ family.

BORIS UNDER PRESSURE

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps led a rearguard defence of Cummings today after a series of ministers tweeted support/

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing today, he said Cummings had not broken the rules because he had “stayed put for 14 days”, having preempted his own illness once his wife showed symptoms.

Opposition politicians have called for the 48-year-old to resign or be sacked.

After being backed by No10, Mr Cummings told reporters outside his home in London: “I behaved reasonably and legally.”

Asked if his trip to Durham during lockdown “looked good”,  he added: “Who cares about good looks? It’s a question of doing the right thing. It’s not about what you guys think.”

An official statement from Downing Street said Cummings didn’t break government guidance because he and his wife, journalist Mary Wakefield, stayed in a different building.

After the latest claims, acting Lib Dem leader Ed Davey heaped pressure on Boris Johnson to sack his top adviser, tweeting: “If Cummings hasn’t gone by the morning, it will be @BorisJohnson in the firing line.”

Mr Cummings walking to work on April 16 days before he allegedly travelled to Durham for a second time

He stayed at the property in Durham with his parents

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “These fresh claims are extraordinary.

“If true, they raise serious questions for Dominic Cummings – and over Boris Johnson’s judgment.

“The Prime Minister must come out of hiding, sack Mr Cummings, and then answer for his own role in this mess and the Downing Street cover-up.

Mr Cummings reportedly travelled to Durham so his parents could help with child care while he and his wife had Covid-19 symptoms.

Yet, it has been claimed that he continued to look after his son while he was staying in the North East of England.

‘RULE BREAKER’

He contracted coronavirus at the end of March. At the time Downing Street claimed he was holed up in his London home.

A week later, on April 5, a neighbour spotted Mr Cummings in his garden in Durham with his son running around to Abba’s Dancing Queen.

His actions go against government advice, which became law on March 26, which stated: “You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home.”

Only in exceptional circumstances were people allowed to attend relatives’ addresses; for example, to drop off food or medicine to their door.

Durham Constabulary said they had spoken to Mr Cummings’ parents about his visit in late-March.

FULL GOVT BACKING

However, No10 denied this, with a spokesperson saying: “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.”

Tonight, Durham Police contradicted Downing Street’s claim that neither Cummings or his family were spoken to.

A spokesman said: “On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware that Dominic Cummings had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.

“At the request of Mr Cummings’ father, an officer made contact the following morning by telephone.

“During that conversation, Mr Cummings’ father confirmed that his son had travelled with his family from London to the North-East and was self-isolating in part of the property.”

Acting Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Steve White, called Mr Cummings’ decision “most unwise”.

But senior Tory officials have come out in support of Mr Cummings.

CALLS FOR INQUIRY

Minister Michael Gove tweeted: “Caring for your wife and child is not a crime.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also wrote on social media: “Taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable, trying to score political points over it isn’t.”

Dominic Raab posted: “It’s reasonable and fair to ask for an explanation on this.

“And it has been provided: two parents with coronavirus, were anxiously taking care of their young child.

“Those now seeking to politicise it should take a long hard look in the mirror.”

Labour has, along with the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, written to Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill demanding an inquiry into what happened.

The Labour source said: “If these latest revelations are true, why on earth were Cabinet ministers sent out this afternoon to defend Dominic Cummings?

“We need an urgent investigation by the Cabinet Secretary to get to the bottom of this matter.

“It cannot be right that there is one rule for the Prime Minister’s adviser and another for the British people.”

Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings had been self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms
Mr Cummings went to Durham with his wife Mary Wakefield and young son to self-isolate

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