Calls for PM adviser to resign over 250-mile lockdown trip

SNP Westminster leader calls on Dominic Cummings to resign or be sacked following reports he was seen in Durham.

Johnson adviser investigated by police. Getty Images
Johnson adviser investigated by police.

The SNP’s Westminster Leader is calling on Dominic Cummings, a key aide of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to resign or be sacked after he was reportedly investigated by police for breaking lockdown rules.

Ian Blackford said the reports are a “key test of leadership” for Johnson following media reports on Friday night that Mr Cummings was seen in Durham, more than 250 miles from his London home, despite having had symptoms of Covid-19.

“People must have confidence that the Tory government is following its own rules – not being investigated by the police for breaking them,” said Mr Blackford.

“Millions of people will find it completely incredible that Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser has been breaking his own government’s rules when the rest of us have all made huge sacrifices to obey them.

“There was absolutely nothing in the list of reasons under the law for leaving the house that allowed someone to travel the length of the country to stay with their parents, particularly not someone who was known to have the virus.

“The Tories vociferously demanded the resignation of Catherine Calderwood that same weekend. As Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said at the time: ‘There cannot be one rule for bosses and another for everyone else’,” he added.

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Labour is also demanding a “swift explanation” in response to the joint investigation by The Guardian and The Daily Mirror newspapers, who are reporting that police investigated Mr Johnson’s chief-of-staff days after he was seen rushing out of Downing Street when the prime minister tested positive for the virus at the end of March.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “On Tuesday, March 31, 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 guidelines around self-isolation and reiterated the appropriate advice around essential travel.”

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A Number 10 spokesperson had confirmed on March 30 that Mr Cummings was self-isolating after suffering symptoms of coronavirus.

A Labour spokesperson said: “If accurate, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser appears to have breached the lockdown rules. The government’s guidance was very clear: stay at home and no non-essential travel.

“The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings. Number 10 needs to provide a very swift explanation for his actions.”