19:57 GMT11 August 2020
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    A severe spat over the actions of Boris Johnson's top adviser enters its third day as Dominic Cummings faces more allegations that he broke the UK's strict pandemic-induced lockdown rules.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now facing at least three new calls for a formal inquiry into whether Cummings violated the code of conduct for top government officials after it was revealed that he drove his family, with his wife reportedly showing COVID-19 symptoms, to his parents’ home in Durham, over 200 miles from London, in late March.

    Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish National Party last night directed a letter to Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, calling for an urgent inquiry into the allegations.

    In her letter to Sedwill, Labour MP Rachel Reeves pointed out: "The British people have made important and painful sacrifices to support the national effort, including being away from family in times of need".

    She went on to argue that it is thus "vital that the government reassure the public that its top figures have been adhering to the same rules as everyone else and are therefore no hypocrites".

    "This could get very sticky next week", one enraged cabinet minister who would like to see Cummings forced out, said, as quoted by The Times. "He clearly did a lot wrong. He has such contempt for us all, he doesn’t think rules apply to him".

    Another senior Tory said: "If this was someone else he would be the first person saying it is an example of an out-of-touch elite in Westminster", he went on. In a further blow to the 48-year-old advisor, it emerged that Cummings’ father, Robert, must have contacted the police, despite claims they hadn't spoken to the family.

    According to the Durham Constabulary, Cummings was questioned and instructed on the self-isolation guidelines "at the request" of his father. "Our officers were made aware that Dominic Cummings had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city. At the request of Mr Cummings's father, an officer made contact the following morning by telephone", the police commented.

    The government assured Cummings had gone into isolation with COVID-19 symptoms on that trip violating no rules, with Cummings insisting that he stayed in a separate part of the family home, when he himself came down with the virus. Speaking yesterday outside his north London home, Cummings said he had acted "reasonably and legally".

    However, new reports have emerged that he was seen 30 miles from his family's home about two weeks later, in an apparently new violation of stay-in regulations, which he himself authored. A retired chemistry teacher, Robin Lees, 70, said he had seen Cummings walking with his family by the Tees before getting into a car on 12 April.

    He is also understood to have returned there a week after being seen recovered in London, with the aide on social media praising the "lovely" bluebells during an early Sunday morning walk on 19 April.

    After Downing Street clarified the situation, with Boris Johnson declaring that not at any price would he throw Dominic Cummings "to the dogs", many more ministers called out the accusations against the aide, saying that he broke self-isolation not once, but three times.

    Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, insisted at a No 10 press conference that Cummings had not broken the rules, because of a loophole that allows people to "safeguard" the young and old.

    "I can tell you the PM provides Cummings with his full support", he added. Chancellor Rishi Sunak also weighed in asserting emphatically: "Taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable, trying to score political points over it isn't".

    Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, tweeted along the same lines, arguing that taking care of one's family "is no crime".

    A fresh YouGov poll, meanwhile, has found that 68% of voters think Cummings broke the lockdown, while only 18% disagreed. By a margin of 52% to 28% the majority thereby concluded that the aide should resign over the allegations.

    Related:

    Dominic Cummings' Lockdown Journey Was in Line With Guidelines, Downing Street Says
    Labour Calls for Inquiry Into Cummings’ Lockdown Trip, Which Was Fully Supported by Johnson
    Dominic Cummings Defied Coronavirus Lockdown Rules Twice to Visit Parents, Report Claims
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    coronavirus, COVID-19, lockdown, Dominic Cummings
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