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Dominic Cummings: 'I don't regret travelling to Durham during coronavirus lockdown' says Prime Minister's aide

"I don't regret what I did" said Dominic Cummings as he defended his decision to travel more than 250 miles to Durham during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Speaking from the garden of Number 10 this afternoon, the Prime Minister's chief aide gave a detailed and lengthy statement, outlining his actions.

KMTV report on the row over Dominic Cummings and his trip to Durham during Lockdown

"I know that millions of people in this country have been confused," he said. "In retrospect I should have made this statement earlier.

He told how on March 27, the day after Boris Johnson tested positive for Covid-19, his wife had fallen ill.

"At this point most of those I worked with closely either had had symptoms and returned to work or were absent with symptoms," he said. "I thought there was a distinct probability that I had already caught the disease."

Mr Cummings claims he was worried about who would look after his four-year-old son if he and his wife were hospitalised with Covid-19.

Dominic Cummings speaking from Downing Street. Picture: BBC
Dominic Cummings speaking from Downing Street. Picture: BBC

He decided the "best thing to do" would be to drive to Durham, to "an isolated cottage" on his father's farm, where his parents live in another house on the site, and his sister and her children in another.

"I did not ask the PM about this decision," he continued.

He said they arrived at the farm at about midnight on March 27, and did not stop on the way.

The following morning, Mr Cummings and his wife were exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.

"For a day or two we were both ill," he said.

On the night of April 2, Mr Cummings' son vomited and had a bad fever. Mr Cummings called 999, and his son was taken to hospital by ambulance, but was discharged the following day and later tested negative for the virus.

Mr Cummings later sought "expert medical advice" and was told he could return to work.

But his wife was worried his eyesight had been "affected by the disease" and "did not want to risk a nearly 300-mile drive with our child given how ill I had been".

On April 12, Mr Cummings says he and his wife drove for about half-an-hour to picturesque Barnard Castle, "to see if I could drive safely".

"We returned to London on the eve of April 13," he said. "I went back to work the following day."

Mr Cummings says "at no point" did they enter his parents' or sister's home.

He denied claims that he made a second journey to Durham after April 13, saying: "All these stories are false."

"I don't regret what I did," he added, when questioned by Laura Kuenssberg, political editor of the BBC.

Boris Johnson has faced pressure to sack Mr Cummings, but on Saturday pledged his “full support” to his under-fire chief adviser.

MP Sir Roger Gale
MP Sir Roger Gale

Meanwhile, some Kent MPs have called for his resignation.

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins is among a growing band of Tories calling for the special adviser to quit - or be sacked.

"Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt," Mr Collins tweeted.

"The government would be better without him."

Fellow Kent MP Sir Roger Gale, who represents North Thanet, also tweeted: "While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings’ desire to protect his child, there cannot be one law for the Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone else.

"He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable."

But not all Kent MPs appear to share their view.

On Saturday, Gillingham MP Rehman Chisti retweeted a tweet from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab defending the adviser.

Meanwhile, Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch says she has been left feeling "frustrated, cross and confused" over the debate, and that she has been inundated with messages of concern by her constituents.

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