The PM’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings is facing calls to resign after he allegedly broke lockdown rules to travel to his parents’ home in Durham.
Boris Johnson has backed his aide saying he acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity” following a “father’s instinct”. Cummings has said he made the journey to his parents’ property for childcare reasons, but there are additional sightings that raise questions over his whereabouts.
This is the timeline of events around his trip so far:
The government has said Cummings travelled to Durham before developing symptoms of coronavirus, which is said to have struck him before the weekend of the 28th-29th March.
Number 10 said Cummings and his wife had travelled north for help with childcare from Cummings’ family. But he and his wife did not need the childcare, according to Number 10, instead relying on the family to deliver food.
Downing Street confirmed Dominic Cummings was suffering from coronavirus symptoms and was self-isolating.
Durham police have confirmed that on 31 March they were “made aware of reports” of Dominic Cummings’ presence in the area. Durham Constabulary told the Mirror and the Guardian that they had contacted the family to “reiterate the appropriate advice around essential travel”.
Downing Street insisted that at no stage were Cummings and his family spoken to by the police about the matter. However an additional statement by Durham police released on Saturday, which stood by the claim, suggested Cummings’ father had alerted the police to his presence.
On Sunday, transport secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that security was the “key thing” in the conversation between the police and his father.
A witness told the Guardian and the Mirror that they had spotted Dominic Cummings standing outside the family home with his son, in a “dar coat and thick tartan scarf,” while Abba was playing loudly.
The Guardian reportedly asked Downing Street that same day about the allegation who responded with no comment.
Cummings allegedly made a trip to Barnard Castle, 30 miles from the family property, on 12 April. It emerged after retired chemistry teacher, Robin Lees, told the Guardian and the Mirror that he had seen Cummings there.
Lees, who says he has a photographic memory, said he had a made a note of Dominic Cummings’ numberplate and checked it online.
Over the weekend Shapps said the trip would have come at the end of the quarantine period but the trip was not essential and is alleged to have been on his wife’s birthday. That Easter weekend the government had emphasised the need for people to adhere to the lockdown rules.
The government has called the Guardian and Mirror’s investigation “fake news” and allegations from “campaigning newspapers” but have not disrupted Lees’ account.
Dominic Cummings was photographed back in Downing Street on 14 April.
An anonymous witness said they had seen Dominic Cummings and his wife on a walk in Houghall Woods, near his parents’ house in Durham. According to the account, Cummings said: “Aren’t the bluebells lovely?”
Downing Street has claimed this is inaccurate and that Cummings did not return to Durham after returning to work on 14 April. Shapps also said he understood the allegation to be false but the Guardian has said the witness is sticking by their story.