Dominic Cummings’ decision to drive his family 260 miles at the height of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown has made policing during the pandemic “much harder”, a regional police commissioner has claimed.
David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, said the senior adviser to Boris Johnson needed to be sacked in order to “restore public confidence” in the government’s response to Covid-19.
“The police’s job of enforcing the lockdown has been made much harder after both the actions of Dominic Cummings travelling over 260 miles and the flexibility with which the government now seem to interpret the guidance,” Mr Jamieson said in a statement.
“People will now say there is one rule for them and one rule for the prime minister’s political advisers.”
He added: “Across the country, millions of people are making sacrifices, including scores of police officers and staff who have separated from their families to protect their health and the health of the nation.”
Mr Cummings insisted on Saturday that he acted “reasonably and legally” when he drove his family to County Durham in late March so they could stay at his parents property.
Downing Street has claimed the journey was “essential” because the adviser’s wife was displaying coronavirus symptoms and the couple needed his elderly parents to look after their young son.
Although Durham Constabulary said it had contacted the owners of the property where Mr Cummings was staying, a spokesperson for the government said neither he nor his family were spoken to by police about the matter.
Mr Jamieson, who is a former Labour MP, added: “It seems beyond belief that to justify the breach of guidance they appear to now be questioning the honesty and credibility of Durham Police.
“The prime minister, Boris Johnson, should sack Dominic Cummings forthwith, to restore public confidence and some credibility to his handling of this dreadful Covid-19 crisis.”
The police commissioner’s comments were made before Mr Cummings was accused of breaching lockdown rules again by making a second trip from London to Durham.
The Sunday Mirror and The Observer reported on Saturday evening that the adviser had been spotted near Durham on 19 April, days after he had returned to London from his first trip in late March to early April.
On Saturday, a snap poll by YouGov found 68 per cent of British adults thought the adviser had broken lockdown rules and 52 per cent thought he should resign.
In the survey of 3,707 adults, just 28 per cent thought he should stay on, with 20 per cent undecided.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street Covid-19 briefing, transport secretary Grant Shapps said the prime minister had given Mr Cummings his “full support” over the controversy.
However, Mr Shapps said he did not know whether Mr Johnson knew the adviser had travelled to Durham in late March and said the prime minister only knew that Mr Cummings was “unwell and in lockdown”.
Additional reporting by Press Association