Boris Johnson has been told to stop “muddying the waters” by not making it clear that the UK Government’s Covid-19 guidelines only apply in England.
Opposition parties met with the Prime Minister this afternoon as news broke that Durham Police confirmed that the Prime Minister’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, might have broken lockdown rules.
In the meeting, Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville Roberts MP said that the Prime Minister’s “confusing” stance on travel was risking public health.
“I am grateful to the Prime Minister for taking the time to speak to opposition parties,” Liz Saville Roberts said following the teleconference meeting.
“I asked the Prime Minister, in the context of his new announcement on test, track and trace, about what people should do if they are asked to quarantine when away from home. Where should they go? Should they, for example, drive to a family home in Durham?
“The Prime Minister said that he would get back to me.
“Opposition Parties also asked Mr Johnson to make clear that his announcements continue to relate to England-only. His instance on muddying the public message by failing to make clear the different approaches of the four UK nations not only risks confusion, but serious public health issues.”
This afternoon Durham Police said advisor Dominic Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle “might have been a minor breach” of lockdown rules.
They referred to the prime minister’s senior aide’s 60-mile round trip on 12 April as a potential breach.
In a statement, Durham police said: “Durham constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle (including ANPR, witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on 25 May 2020) 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.
“Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis. Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.”
However, the UK Government said the PM now “regards this issue as closed”.
A No 10 spokesperson said: “The police have made clear they are taking no action against Mr Cummings over his self-isolation and that going to Durham did not breach the regulations. The prime minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed.”