Dominic Cummings. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
British police on Thursday (28) said prime minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings committed a “minor” breach by driving to a scenic spot at the height of the coronavirus lockdown and closed the politically explosive case.
The Brexit campaign master created a political scandal when newspapers discovered that he left London and took a cross-country trip to stay on his parents’ property in early April.
His wife believed at the time she was suffering from the virus and Cummings himself developed symptoms a few days later.
The government orders were for those who suspected they had the virus to stay at home for at least a week, but Cummings claimed that the rules allowed him to leave the house in order to secure childcare for his four-year-old son.
Johnson’s most trusted and adviser — dubbed by some media as Britain’s second-most powerful man — staged an unusual press conference Monday in which he made no apologies and blamed the media for misrepresenting his case.
Durham Constabulary said on Thursday that it “does not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises, Mr Cummings committed an offence.”
However, it added that “there might have been a minor breach” when the family took a drive to a local beauty spot after they had recovered.
Cummings explained that he had blurry vision and decided to test his eyesight by driving to Barnard Castle before returning to London in April.
The local police department said it had “examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle .. and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention.
“Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing,” it said in a statement.
The Durham police department said it had “no intention to take retrospective action” since this would “amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public.”
The police findings could still pose a political problem for the British leader.
Several dozen members of his Conservative party have called on Johnson to part with Cummings because the aide’s actions threatened to undermine the government’s response to the health crisis.
Downing Street said Johnson was not changing his mind and considered the matter closed.
“The prime minister has said he believes Mr. Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
Some opposition lawmakers seized on the police report to redouble their calls for Cummings to either be fire or quit.
Cummings “broke the rules he helped write. Actions have consequences. Your move prime minister,” Labour party MP Davies-Jones tweeted.