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Johnson called Cummings ‘total and utter liar’ after Barnard Castle row

31 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Former chief adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings arrives to give a statement to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry. Photo James Manning/PA Wire

Boris Johnson raged that Dominic Cummings was a “total and utter liar” after his lockdown trip to Barnard Castle became public.

Mr Cummings, who appeared before the Covid inquiry on Tuesday, also said that the handling by Downing Street of the fallout from his trip was an “absolute car crash”.

Mr Johnson’s then chief adviser took a “short drive” to the town in April 2020, about 25 miles away from where he was isolating, on his wife’s 45th birthday – saying he was testing his eyesight after it was affected by Covid-19, to “see if I could drive safely”.

WhatsApp messages shared with Lady Hallett’s probe showed Mr Johnson claiming that his adviser had never told him he had gone to Durham.

In messages dated July 19 2021, Mr Johnson said: “Cummings a total and utter liar. He never told me he had gone to Durham during lockdown.

“I only discovered when the stories started to come out about Barnard Castle etc. I believed Mary Wakefield when she wrote a piece in spec giving impression they had been in London the whole time.

“He later claimed that he had told me but that my brain was so fogged by Covid that I didn’t register.

“It’s not true, I would have noted it.

“He never told me. I then tried my very best to defend him.”


Mr Cummings was questioned by counsel to the inquiry, Hugo Keith KC, about the high-profile controversy and the impact it had on confidence in the Government.

He said Downing Street’s handling of the matter “did cause a lot of people pain”.

Mr Cummings said: “It was certainly a disaster, the whole handling of the situation.

“But there were other factors involved with it all as well – testing and PPE and many other things were all going haywire at the time.”

Mr Cummings said it was “completely reasonable” for security reasons to move his family out of his house, but on the Barnard Castle disclosures he said the way it was “handled, it was an absolute car crash and disaster and did cause a lot of people pain”.

But he added: “In terms of my actual actions in going north and then coming back down, I acted entirely reasonably and legally and did not break any rules.”

At the time, Mr Cummings declined to apologise, saying his actions were “reasonable in these circumstances”, adding: “I don’t regret what I did” – something which he reiterated to the inquiry on Tuesday.

Durham Police previously said officers had concluded “there might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention”, but did not intend to take “retrospective action”.

In March 2020, Mr Cummings also made a controversial 260-mile drive from London to Durham with his wife, journalist Mary Wakefield, and their four-year-old son, to stay on his parents’ farm while strict travel restrictions were in place.

In an extraordinary press conference in the 10 Downing Street garden in May of the same year, he said his journey to Durham was justified as he sought to protect his family’s health.

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8 months ago

This the Johnson that has a habit of lying? Lied to his wife when he cheated on her, lost a job twice for it, lied to a nation, lied to the HoC?

he would know i suppose.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
8 months ago

Boris Johnson does not possess the normal and necessary human traits of shame and embarrassment. However, and weirdly, he has a problem with their very close cousin humiliation but you cannot live a life bringing shame and embarrassment on oneself and ultimately avoid humiliation.

8 months ago

Not nice when somebody lies to you, is it Boris.

8 months ago

Not that important is it really ? After all it’s just one more little sliver of evidence that the two of them were utterly unfit to be anywhere near the running of government at a time of crisis or any other time.

8 months ago

You would not want to meet a face like Cummings’ in a dark alley.

8 months ago

“Nature’s way of dealing with old people”!!!! Was this a deliberate man-made pandemic to rid the country of the old and infirm to save paying old age pensions and PIP? Makes you think, doesn’t it!!

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