A number of you have contacted me about Dominic Cummings’ trip to County Durham - especially his visit to Barnard Castle.
I have not commented extensively, either on my social media or in the media, because I believe it is important we have both allowed the facts to be laid out, and allowed for Durham Police to carry out their investigation, free of speculation - which is rarely helpful when the police are considering the matter.
Today, Durham Police have concluded that:
- Mr Cummings did NOT commit an offence by travelling to County Durham and locating himself at his father’s premises
- In travelling to Barnard Castle, there MIGHT have been a minor breach of the regulations
- This is minor because there was NO evidence of a breach of social distancing by Mr Cummings or his family
- Had Mr Cummings been stopped whilst driving to Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him and advised him to return home
- Only if the Officer’s advice in those circumstances had been ignored would any enforcement action would have been taken
- There is NO intention to take retrospective action about the Barnard Castle visit because “this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public.”
Some of you were concerned about Mr Cummings’ visit in terms of Coronavirus transmission in our local area. With the Police concluding that no social distancing guidance was breached, I hope this will help alleviate those concerns.
The Police have treated Mr Cummings as they would any other member of the public. However, the media clearly have not, as demonstrated by videos of the frenzy outside his home (with blatant breaches of social distancing by journalists).
I completely understand the frustration many of you have expressed. I, too, felt frustrated when I saw the initial headlines, and was incredibly vocal to colleagues in Government about the strength of local feeling.
However, with Durham Police concluding their investigation and taking no further action, they have laid this matter to rest. It is important we do the same to allow everyone in Government, in Parliament, in the civil service, and in the Police to get back to focusing on the task of tackling this virus and getting our country and our community back on its feet. It’s time to move on.