Dominic Cummings arrives at No10 after nine Tory MPs demand he resign over claims he broke lockdown rules three times


NINE Tory MPs have demanded Dominic Cummings resign over claims he broke the lockdown three times to see family 260 miles from his home.

Boris Johnson’s chief adviser arrived at Downing Street as he faces calls to quit this afternoon after driving his wife and child to his parents’ home in Durham at the end of March.

Dominic Cummings arrived at Downing Street today

Mr Cummings has been accused of breaking the lockdown three times after later being spotted in the north east on April 12 and 19.

Furious Tory backbenchers are demanding the controversial aide is booted out of his role immediately.

Today Tory MP Steve Baker became the first to publicly call for him to resign.

Appearing on Sky News, he said: “If he doesn’t resign we’ll keep burning through Boris’s political capital.

“Mum’s and dad’s who very much care about their children and foregoing child care of their extended family will be wondering why, and understand how he’s been allowed to do this.

“We’re now in a nonsense position, a pantomime position where it seems if you wish to apply a wide common sense interpretation of the rules you can do, at least if you work in Number 10.

“It’s ridiculous and he has to go.”

The North Dorset MP Simon Hoare also demanded he go.

He tweeted: “With the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the Government’s reputation he must consider his position.

“Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. It’s his cavalier “I don’t care; I’m cleverer than you” tone that infuriates people.

“He is now wounding the PM/Govt & I don’t like that.”

They were joined in the brewing backlash by popular backbencher Damian Collins, who runs his fact-check site.

He tweeted: “Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt.

“The government would be better without him.

“The latest bombshell claims call into question Downing Street’s statements backing Cummings after it emerged he travelled 260 miles to the property owned by his parents in late-March.”

Veteran MP Sir Roger Gale added: “While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings’ desire to protect his child.

“There cannot be one law for the Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone else. He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable.”

Craig Whittaker tweeted: “I totally agree that Dominic Cummings position is untenable.

“You cannot advise the nation one thing then do the opposite.”

William Wragg, Julian Knight, Peter Bone and Caroline Nokes also called for him to walk.

The group are the first to openly speak out against Mr Cummings, with many more privately admitting he has to go.

Several have also refused to follow the cabinet in tweeting their support for the aide after being asked.

Dominic Cummings was spotted in Durham for a second time after he had recovered from Covid-19, it has been claimed

Cummings is the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps failed to answer questions during an appearance on Sky News

Today Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the claims Mr Cummings broke the rules twice were “not true”.

He told Sky News: “I certainly know that the first one you mention, of travelling back up (to Durham), I know that is not true.

“I’m afraid I don’t know (about Barnard Castle) but if that date was true that would have been outside the 14-day period. But I’m afraid I don’t have the information on that.

“But I do know it is not the case that he has travelled backwards and forwards, which seemed to be a major part of the stories I saw in the paper today.”

It comes after a witness claimed he saw Cummings at a beauty spot 30 miles away when he says he was self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms on April 12.

He was then claimed to have been seen walking with his family in Durham a week later.

Walkers said they were shocked when they saw him with his wife in Houghall Woods on April 19, the Sunday Mirror reports.

One resident who was not named claimed the political strategist said as he walked past: “Aren’t the bluebells lovely?”

A second eyewitness told the Observer he also saw Cummings a week earlier on Easter Sunday at Barnard Castle, a popular tourist location 30 miles away from Durham.

Robin Lees, 70, a retired chemistry teacher from the town, said: “I was a bit gobsmacked to see him, because I know what he looks like.

“And the rest of the family seemed to match – a wife and child. I was pretty convinced it was him and it didn’t seem right because I assumed he would be in London.”

Cummings last night told 10 Downing Street reports he made a second trip north were “totally false”.

Under pressure to sack his most senior lieutenant, Boris Johnson yesterday vowed he would not “throw him to the dogs”, the Mail on Sunday reported.

Boris told friends: “Dominic acted within the guidance and was simply caring for his family. I now consider the matter to be closed.”

Downing Street also hit back at the reports, despite failing to deny them when first asked.

A spokesman said: “Yesterday the Mirror and Guardian wrote inaccurate stories about Mr Cummings.

“Today they are writing more inaccurate stories including claims that Mr Cummings returned to Durham after returning to work in Downing Street on 14 April.

“We will not waste our time answering a stream of false allegations about Mr Cummings from campaigning newspapers.”

It came as Durham Constabulary confirmed they did speak to Cummings’ father about his alleged lockdown breach.

The force said: “On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware that Dominic Cummings had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.

“At the request of Mr Cummings’ father, an officer made contact the following morning by telephone.

“During that conversation, Mr Cummings’ father confirmed that his son had travelled with his family from London to the North-East and was self-isolating in part of the property.

“Durham Constabulary deemed that no further action was required. However, the officer did provide advice in relation to security issues.”

Earlier No10 had denied that police had spoken to anyone in Cummings’ family.

He stayed at the property in Durham with his parents

After being backed by No10, Mr Cummings told reporters outside his home in London: “I behaved reasonably and legally.”

Asked if his trip to Durham during lockdown “looked good”,  he added: “Who cares about good looks? It’s a question of doing the right thing. It’s not about what you guys think.”

An official statement from Downing Street said Cummings didn’t break government guidance because he and his wife, journalist Mary Wakefield, stayed in a different building.

Opposition politicians have called for the 48-year-old to resign or be sacked.

His actions go against government advice, which became law on March 26, which stated: “You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home.”

Only in exceptional circumstances were people allowed to attend relatives’ addresses; for example, to drop off food or medicine to their door.

A YouGov poll found that 68 per cent of voters think Mr Cummings broke lockdown rules, while just 18 per cent disagreed.

And a majority of those questioned, 52 per cent, they think the PM’s top aide should resign because of the scandal.

Mr Cummings photographed in Downing Street on April 16 days after he allegedly travelled to Durham for a second time

Dominic Cummings departs his home with his wife in London yesterday