UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s most senior political adviser is under growing pressure to resign after it was reported that he broke coronavirus lockdown rules and was subsequently investigated by police.
Dominic Cummings drove 260 miles from London to his hometown, Durham, in late March to visit his parents, according to a joint report by The Guardian and Daily Mirror newspapers, published Friday night.
At the time, Cummings and his wife were displaying symptoms of the coronavirus, the reports said.
Days before, Prime Minister Johnson had tested positive for the virus, and he was self-isolating in Number 10 Downing Street.
When Cummings made the trip, official government advice was that no one should make any non-essential journeys and only leave home to buy groceries, exercise, and provide supplies to those vulnerable to the virus-like the elderly or disabled.
Cummings was investigated by police after he was seen in Durham, a historic university town in England’s north east, by a local resident, who then called police, The Guardian reported.
“On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware of reports that an individual had traveled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city,” a statement from Durham Police said.
“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.”
The BBC reports that sources close to Cummings deny he broke any rules, and that he and his family “had made the trip because his parents could help care for his young child while he and his wife were both ill with symptoms of coronavirus.”
Senior political figures from the British opposition were quick to call for Cummings’ resignation over the reported indiscretion. A spokesman for the Labour Party told the BBC: “The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings.”
“If Dominic Cummings has broken the lockdown guidelines, he will have to resign. It’s as simple as that,” Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats said, according to the Guardian.
Cummings is not the first senior British official to face scrutiny over alleged breaking of lockdown. In early April, Catherine Calderwood, the chief medical officer for Scotland, resigned after breaking lockdown to visit her second home.
Then, in early May, Neil Ferguson, a senior epidemiologist and member of the government’s top scientific advisory groups, was forced to resign after reports he broke protocols to meet his married lover.