260 miles of dash and a story that keeps unraveling: how the crisis that dominated Dominic Cummings unfolded
Never before has an unelected government advisor been so powerful – and divisive.
Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s right-hand man and self-proclaimed architect of Brexit, has already been featured in a Benedict Cumberbatch TV movie and was the subject of a BBC documentary this year.
He seems to be enjoying his reputation as a ‘dark puppeteer’ – complete with his shabby clothes, abrupt tone and contempt for the press. But for many, revelations that he may have broken lockdown rules are a controversial step too far. Here the Mail analyzes the allegations against him.
For many, revelations that Dominic Cummings (pictured) may have broken lock rules are a controversial step too far
FIRST DURHAM JOURNEY
March 23, 2020 was the day Britain was incarcerated. Boris Johnson told the British to leave the house for only one of the following four reasons: to shop for essential items, to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work where it’s’ absolutely necessary was, or to meet medical or healthcare needs.
Those who had symptoms of coronavirus were told to stay at home for at least seven days. Other members of that household were told to isolate themselves for 14 days.
The government revealed its message “Stay home. Protect the NHS. Saving Lives ”- allegedly written with the help of Mr Cummings. Four days after the blockade was imposed, Mr. Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive.
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty also showed symptoms. On March 30, Downing Street confirmed that Mr. Cummings also had symptoms and isolated himself.
The next day, local police received a report that he was in the rural Durham farm from his parents Robert, 73, and Morag, 71 – 265 miles from his London home.
It is believed that Mr. Cummings was there on March 27 or 28 – shortly after his wife, Mary Wakefield, started showing symptoms.
Such a move would greatly contradict the leadership of the government, as Mr. Cummings could have cared for his young child in London while his wife recovered.
On April 5 at around 5:45 p.m., an unnamed neighbor saw him with his son in his parents’ yard – with Abba’s Dancing Queen in the background.
The neighbor said, “I got the shock of my life. I was really annoyed. I thought, “It’s okay to drive all the way to Durham and escape from London.” It’s one line for Dominic Cummings and one line for the rest of us. ‘
In response to questions last week, No10 said that Mr. Cummings had traveled to Durham because his sister and nieces volunteered to take care of his four-year-old son.
Over the weekend, Deputy Chief Surgeon Dr. Jenny Harries said traveling during closing was allowed if “there was an extreme danger to life” with a “protection clause” to prevent vulnerable people from being trapped at home without support. She added that a small child can be considered vulnerable.
But instead of Mr. Cummings’s son staying with other family members, he was actually with his parents in a farm next to the main house. The food was left by Mr. Cummings’s sister at the door.
The trip seems to violate strict lockdown rules as both parents showed symptoms and could have used help elsewhere in London.
Parental home: the house of Cummings’ parents in Durham, 260 miles away, that he visited during the closing
CAN THEY STAY IN LONDON?
Mr Cummings insisted that the trip to Durham was necessary for his son’s well-being. The boy would probably have contracted a mild version of the disease, if at all, by staying with his parents.
In contrast, Mr. Cummings’ elderly parents were at a much greater risk of contracting a serious and potentially fatal form of Covid-19, making his actions all the more reckless. Family friends have pointed out that his wife, Mary Wakefield, has a brother, Jack, who lives in London with his own young son. She also has a half-brother, Max, who lives in the capital.
It has also been suggested that it might have been more sensible for a family member to travel from Durham South to help the Cummings.
On April 12, his wife’s birthday, Mr. Cummings and his family were reportedly seen 30 miles from Durham in the town of Barnard Castle. Retired chemistry teacher Robin Lees, 70, said he was “baffled.” While Mr. Cummings could theoretically have completed a 14-day isolation period to recover from symptoms, government leadership was still clear: stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. Mr. Lees said, “They looked like they had taken a walk by the river. It was wrong because I thought he would be in London. You don’t take the virus from one part of the country to another. ‘
Sky News confirmed yesterday that the license plate number was Mr. Cummings’ car.
London-to-Durham: The 260-mile journey Cummings made to reach his parents’ home in Durham
Like all good journalists, Mary Wakefield has not missed an opportunity to turn personal difficulties into a seductive copy. As the editor-in-chief of the political magazine The Spectator, the daughter of the baronet described her and her husband’s struggles with the corona virus for an edition in late April.
She said she initially developed symptoms before Mr. Cummings rushed home and “collapsed.” She explained, “I felt breathless, painful at times, but Dom couldn’t get out of bed. Day in, day out for ten days, he lay doggo with a high fever and spasms causing the muscles in his legs to clump and tremble. He could breathe, but only in a limited, shallow way. ‘
Then, in a conclusion that contradicts the Durham sightings, she said the family “came out of quarantine in the almost comical uncertainty of London’s closure.” On April 14, Mr. Cummings returned to work on Downing Street.
RETURN TRIP – OR TWO?
A witness claimed to have seen Mr. Cummings on April 19 at Houghall Woods, a beauty site near his parents’ home in Durham.
He heard that the bells are “lovely”.
March 27: Dominic Cummings is pictured walking down Downing Street on the day that Mr. Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock test positive for coronavirus
“We thought,” He shouldn’t be here when closing. ” We thought, “What double standards, one rule for him as senior adviser to the prime minister, another for the rest of us.” When asked yesterday if he had been to Durham for the second time in April, Mr Cummings said, “No, I did not.”
On May 10, rumors begin to circulate on social media that Mr. Cummings had been seen again in the Durham region. A police source said yesterday that Telegraph agents contacted Mr. Cummings’ father around this time, but the sightings were not true.
CUMMINGS vs POLICE
When news of the alleged lockdown breaches came out late on Friday evening, Downing Street described Mr Cummings’ actions as “essential” and “in accordance with the coronavirus guidelines.” Another statement from number 10 said, “At no time was he or his family spoken to by the police on this issue.”
Durham police later issued a statement that they were notified of his presence in the city on March 31 and spoke to his father the following morning.
Mike Barton, ex-Durham police chief, insisted yesterday that Mr. Cummings “broke the law.” He said, “The deputy chief physician … made it very clear: it must be a life-threatening problem that can help you break through the coronavirus blockade.
“This was not life-threatening, so let’s not get around it.”
When the news of the alleged lockdown breaches was described late on Friday evening, Downing Street described Mr Cummings’ actions as “essential” and “in accordance with the coronavirus guidelines”