A GP pressure group has written to the chief constable of Durham police urging investigation into Dominic Cummings’ potential coronavirus lockdown breach.
A letter signed by 300 GP members of the group said its ‘committee and members are writing to you this open letter as general practitioners to formally request investigation of Mr Dominic Cummings, special advisor to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to determine if he has committed an offence under Section 15 of the 2020 Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations’.
It also raises questions about whether Mr Cummings broke the law in driving his child 60 miles to ‘test his eyesight’.
It comes after Mr Cummings made a press statement about the controversy from the garden of 10 Downing Street last night, during which he said he did not regret his decision to travel 260 miles from London to his parents’ home in Durham when his wife and himself began displaying Covid-19 symptoms.
A joint investigation by the Mirror and the Guardian, published on 22 May, had said police had investigated Mr Cummings for breaking lockdown rules on which he himself had acted as a senior adviser. More allegations emerged over the weekend, with the revelation that Mr Cummings also drove to a local beauty spot while the family was in Durham.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and members of his cabinet including health secretary Matt Hancock, have defended Mr Cummings, with Mr Johnson declaring on Sunday that his adviser had acted legally and with integrity.
But, in a letter to chief constable Jo Farrell, GP Survival asked Durham police to investigate:
- ‘If the initial journey he and his family made on or around 28th March 2020 to stay at his parents’ property in Durham was an offence.’
- ‘When Mr Cummings travelled while staying at this property to Barnard Castle on or around 12th April 2020, if this was an offence; we are also concerned he chose to drive a motor vehicle to “test his eyesight” while carrying a child passenger for 60 miles and the risk this posed to other members of the public.’
- ‘If there is any other evidence of Mr Cummings leaving the Durham property during this period in contravention of the regulations.’
- ‘If there is evidence that after returning to London in mid-April 2020, Mr Cummings has made further return journeys to Durham or its surroundings and if this was an offence.’
The letter added: ‘GPs have been amongst the many front-line NHS workers in helping to contain and manage the Covid-19 pandemic, and have advised many patients and their families over this period of the need to remain locked down at home, not to travel from home unless an emergency, to self-isolate for up to 14 days if symptomatic, and to remain at their primary residence.
‘We are concerned that these allegations against Mr Cummings, unless resolved, will serve to undermine the public health interventions required to prevent further unnecessary deaths.
‘We feel that due to the potential risk of these unresolved allegations undermining public confidence in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is in the public interest to examine, using what evidence is available to you including ANPR CCTV and other methods to resolve this issue and be able to provide a clear statement to the public if offences had been committed.’
The news comes as this morning, a Cabinet minister resigned in protest at the handling of the situation. Under secretary of state for Scotland Douglas Ross said he could not defend the Government’s position to to his constituents.
I haven’t commented publicly on the situation with Dominic Cummings as I have waited to hear the full details. I welcome the statement to clarify matters, but there remains aspects of the explanation which I have trouble with. As a result I have resigned as a government Minister. pic.twitter.com/6yXLyMzItJ
— Douglas Ross MP (@Douglas4Moray) May 26, 2020
In a backbench rebellion, another 20 Conservative MPs have also expressed their views that Mr Cummings should be sacked, while Labour leader Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson was ‘treating the British public with contempt’ in deciding to continue to back his aide.
Similarly, YouGov polls conducted over the weekend conclude that the majority of the public both feel Cummings’ actions were wrong, and that he should resign.
But he stated in yesterday’s live conference – the first time an unelected adviser has delivered one – that he had not considered resigning, and instead referenced ‘exceptional circumstances’ concerning the care of his child.
Previously, Scottish chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood, and SAGE scientist Professor Neil Ferguson resigned from their roles after being found to have breached the lockdown rules.