Did Dominic Cummings break lockdown rules and why did he resign?
DOMINIC Cummings has been behind some of Britain’s recent successful political campaigns including the election in 2019 and the Vote Leave’s success with Brexit.
But why did he resign as the Prime Minister’s top adviser and did he break lockdown rules? Here is everything you’ll need to know…
Dominic Cummings resigned as senior aide to the Prime Minister in November 2020[/caption]
Did Dominic Cummings break any lockdown rules?
He revealed that on March 27 he had made the decision to isolate on his father’s farm in Durham after his wife, journalist Mary Wakefield, became ill and he believed he was also becoming sick.
He said that he felt his young child could not be properly cared for by them.
That night he said they drove the 264 miles from his London residence to Durham without making any stops.
While at his father’s home, Cummings, his wife and son stayed in a separate building on the land, not coming into contact with his family.
On April 2, Cummings said he had left the home in Durham to travel to the nearest hospital as his child was sick but said that he had no contact with “anyone on the way”.
After his family had recovered from their illnesses Cummings said that they went for a walk in the woodland on his father’s private land.
On April 12, which also coincides with his wife’s birthday, Cummings said that he hoped to return to work but wanted to test his eyesight with a 30-mile drive to a local tourist destination, Barnard Castle.
Cummings said that his eyesight deteriorated from his illness over the previous two weeks.
After feeling slightly unwell, Cummings said he left his car for 15 minutes before returning back to his family home in Durham.
On April 13, Cummings and his family arrived back to their London residence.
It has been reported that the No10 aide had travelled to Durham a second time on April 19 with witnesses saying he and his wife were in Houghall Woods.
One resident, who was not named, claimed Mr Cummings said as he walked past: “Aren’t the bluebells lovely?”
But No10 and Mr Cummings have denied the second trip to Durham stating that photos and phone data would prove it to be false.
He reiterated in his statement in the Downing Street Rose Garden that “he behaved reasonably and legally” and that he has “no regrets” about the situation.
Mr Johnson said in his press briefing on Monday, May 25: “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.”
‘BEHAVED REASONABLY AND LEGALLY’
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson issued a fiery defence of the Prime Minister’s top aide saying he “didn’t break the rules or the law” on lockdown.
He told Sky News: “The guidance is incredibly extensive and at the heart of that guidance is always the issue of safeguarding children and making sure that children are always absolutely protected.
“My understanding is from what the Prime Minister said yesterday is that at every stage Dominic Cummings followed and his family followed the guidance and at no stage did Dominic Cummings or his family break the law.”
A No10 spokesperson said: “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. His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.”
Dominic Cummings stayed at his parents’ property in Durham despite having coronavirus symptoms[/caption]
What were the rules at the time?
On March 23, 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the UK in lockdown.
Among the rules were that someone could only leave their household for one exercise a day to be undertaken alone, essential shopping, to go to work if you are a key worker or to seek medical attention.
Brits were unable to enter another household, reiterated with the rule saying: “You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home.”
The only exceptions to visiting another house were to drop off medicine or essential food supplies at their door, without entering the property.
And chief among the rules was that anyone with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate, along with the entire household – which is still in place despite the slight relaxing of measures on May 10.
But Mr Cummings points to the rules which say that people can travel to access childcare if they need to.
He pointed out that it was an exceptional circumstance and said he was putting the interests of his child first – making sure he was near people who could look after his boy if both he and his wife were too unwell too.
However, MPs and members of the public have suggested he would have had other options, and did not need to drive to Durham for this.
Why did Dominic Cummings resign?
The exact reasons why Dominic Cummings resigned as the PM’s senior adviser are not known, but it is believed his departure was due to an increasing power struggle within the Conservative Party.
Initially, he was supposed to leave by the end of 2020, but it is believed his resignation was brought forward by a “shouty row” at Downing Street on Thursday, November 12.
Cummings was the centre of a political storm in May last year when it came to light that he travelled from London to Durham during lockdown.
As many called for the PM’s adviser to be sacked over the scandal, he held a press conference in May 2020, where he defiantly said he had “no regrets” and would continue to work for the Prime Minister.
But on Friday, November 13, following the resignation of Mr Johnson’s chief of staff, Lee Cain, a day before, Mr Cummings was seen leaving No 10 with a box of his belongings, symbolising his final visit to the Prime Minister’s office.
The Brexit guru, who had originally planned to leave in the New Year, chose to exit through the front door past waiting photographers carrying a cardboard box full of his possessions.
MORE ON CORONAVIRUS
Where is Dominic Cummings now?
There is little known about where Dominic Cummings has worked since leaving Downing Street last November.
On his blog, Cummings says he runs a company called North Wood which solves problems in the management, communication and political sphere.
Since leaving No.10 Cummings has posted only once on his blog where he responded to claims that Downing Street had made about him in April of this year.
Over the last few days, Cummings has been more vocal on Twitter, posting a string of tweets where he detailed ways in which he believed the Government mishandled the beginning of the pandemic.
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