Journal

Cummings and goings: Did Dom break the law?

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Criminal barrister Syam Soni casts a legal eye over Durham saga

Dominic Cummings — credit: Sky News

Dominic Cummings undertook a journey from his home in London to his parents’ residence in Durham on the 27 March 2020.

After trying unsuccessfully to weather a media maelstrom concerning those (and subsequent) movements, Cummings took to a solitary desk within the picturesque grounds of Number 10’s Rose Garden yesterday to have his say. The following is a (partial) timeline of his movements:

27 March 2020: Journey from Cummings’ London home to his parents’ home in Durham. At this point, neither Cummings nor his wife were displaying symptoms associated with coronavirus (but his wife had other symptoms.

28 March 2020: Cummings developed symptoms of coronavirus.

13 April 2020: Return journey from Durham to London.

Between those dates there were various events involving Cummings and his family, including the hospitalisation of his four-year-old child, a trip to the grounds of Barnard Castle to test his eyesight and a sojourn in some woods. The question to be considered here, however, is whether that initial journey (the Durham journey) on the 27 March 2020 — some 260 miles, a five-hour drive — was lawful.

Sat comfortably amidst the rose-red background of Number 10’s garden, Cummings essentially offered two explanations; firstly, concern that he and his wife would not be able to provide effective care to their four year-old child and, secondly, because his “London home had become a target… for harassment”.

The regulations

The relevant law is to be found in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. That takes the form of a UK Statutory Instrument (SI), made pursuant to section 45 Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. The regulations impose, inter alia, restrictions upon the operation of business and movement. Part 6 decrees a prohibition in terms that, “during the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse”. The regulations came into force on the 26 March 2020.

Reasonable excuse

The question, then, is what constitutes a reasonable excuse. Part 6(2) specifies a list of 12 non-exhaustive examples thereof. At first glance, ‘Cummingsgate’ does not fall into any of those. It need not, however. We must examine, then, the two explanations that have been provided.

Childcare

This justification hinges upon the need for assistance with childcare for the Cummings’ son in the event of the incapacitation of both parents. Parents equals plural. Cummings seems to have feared incapacitation such that it would render the provision of effective childcare difficult (or even impossible). There are several points to consider:

1. Government guidance specifies that:

“If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), then you must stay at home for at least 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days… for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for at least 7 days from when the symptoms appeared…”

2. Given that the government has repeatedly assured the British public that the virus will be a mild disease for the majority of the infected, why did Cummings form the view that he (and presumably his wife) would be impacted to such an extent that incapacitation would surely (or even likely) follow?; and

3. Cummings acknowledged that he did not seek the assistance of friends in London for childcare, as he did not want to expose them to a potentially deadly virus when his 17 year-old niece in Durham had offered her assistance. Would exploring options closer to London, at least in the first instance, have been a reasonable precursor to driving some 260 miles?

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It is difficult to see how the Durham journey was essential at the time it was made, at least insofar as the provision of childcare was concerned. Whilst one can sympathise with a parent’s anxieties, it must be remembered that the legislation was introduced in response to exceptional circumstances where the government demanded sacrifices of the British people — and in response to which no doubt the vast majority made those sacrifices.

One must assume that Cummings did not have access to a crystal ball prior to undertaking the Durham journey on the 27 March 2020. He could not have known, therefore, if he would/had contract(ed) the virus, and, if he did/had, how bad it would be. The travel was clearly pre-emptive. Whilst that does not render it unreasonable per se, it may well be an important factor.

Harassment target

The suggestion is that the Durham journey was intended to escape the intolerable hostility of which Cummings — and his family — were a target. There does not seem to be any suggestion that the tempo of hostility was greater on the 27 March 2020, than it was, say, on the 26 March 2020, or the 27 February 2020, or indeed any other date. So, did that hostility just happen to reach a crescendo on the same day that the welfare of his child led him to make the five-hour drive?

It is difficult to see how this explanation, without further clarification, constitutes a reasonable excuse. Did a particular event increase Cummings’ fear to hitherto unacceptable levels and compel him to essentially flee? If so, what was it? Was it reported to the police? If not, why not? The devil will be in the detail and detail, if Cummings’ reticence has been anything to go by so far, will likely not be forthcoming.

There seems to be at least a prima facie case that there has been a violation of the regulations insofar as the Durham journey is concerned, and that is saying nothing about the various other escapades that seem to have ensued once there; undertaking a 60-minute driving test may well raise more than a few legal eyebrows, for example.

The future of ‘Cummingsgate’, and particularly any prosecutorial response, clearly remains to be seen. Whilst contemplating a trial may well have a whiff of prematurity, Cummings would bear an evidential burden in explaining his actions. One would presume that he would give evidence on his own behalf to that end. One can also speculate as to his performance as a witness but, judging from his performance at the Rose Garden matinee, he is certainly reminiscent of many a defence lawyer’s bread and butter ‘punter’.

Syam Soni is a criminal barrister at 4BB Chambers and Broadway House Chambers.

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67 Comments

Sir Sheer Karma

Cummings seemed to suggest that if his wife were to be at home sick while he was in Downing St she would be less able to cope with harassment than if she were well and that this was one justification for the move to Durham.

The whole harassment issue has been under reported. Perhaps you could offer an opinion on whether the idiots who turned up on Sunday with a big screen on a truck were in breach of the law

Chris Short

But if his wife were to be at home sick what would he be doing in Downing Street? – unless he was living there to isolate from her, in which case he couldn’t drive her to Durham anyway.

Mike Bear

Cummings enjoys the protection of the MET. If he felt there was a security issue like he clearly has since his rather weak performance in the Rose Garden then he could have had the police in attendance. It’s routine stuff for them.

You appear to also forget that Cummings “statement” is his own concoction, contradicts his wife’s account of their Durham trip and makes unsubstantiated claims in a number of areas.

Canon Bury

I live round the corner and any protests outside the Cummings house have been sporadic and until the Durham debacle, involved a small handful of decidedly unthreatening individuals. Even now both the press and the police outnumber any protesters outside Dom’s house.

GAMMONKRIEG

BREXIT MEANS BREXIT

Anon.

You bet.

80 seat majority, 4.5 years to next election.

Get it right F***ING UP YOU

NO DEAL

Anon

This whole campaign smells of revenge for Brexit. Personally I would rather leave my toddler with a family member whom I trust then a friend or an unknown member of the community.

(100)(46)

Bob

Yes and I would like to go to the pub.

The rules allow neither.

Anon

Are you honestly saying that a desire to go to a pub is equal to a desire to ensure that your 4-year old is safe?

I see a good case to argue an “exceptional circumstance”.

In any case this should be for the relevant authorities to decide, not BBC. Also let’s not forget – innocent before proven guilty.

What?

“Desire to ensure that your 4-year old is safe” oh to hell with your bs emotional language, “safe”? How was his kid not “safe”? Was he forced to eat rats on the street?

If we allow such “exceptional circumstances”, then is anyone at liberty to exercise this exception if they cook up a moving family story? Comforting a dying relative seems exceptional to me, you really only get 1 chance to do it – am I allowed to travel far away to do so? So does checking up on / moving in with family members who might be old or frail. What if my friend / partner has a history of mental illness / self-harm – is it exceptional enough that I am allowed to visit / spend time with them to ensure they don’t fall down so low as to consider suicide, like that one guy did due to isolation?

Fuzzy exceptions are the bane of good law.

Anon

“Safe” is a neutral language, often used in statutes and cases. Your comment is the one which is emotional.

Anonymous

It’s nothing to do with the who you’d rather leave your toddler with. They are quite happy to tell us that the household must self isolate if someone has symptoms. People who have followed this are not less loving of their children! Just like the people of Grenfel, who followed the rules of keeping their doors shut, were not to blame for lack of courage, like the tories would have you believe. He clearly doesn’t give a fuck about his kid if he is prepared to strap him in (presumably although laws don’t apply to him so who knows) to a car which he’s about to test drive because he’s been having problems with his vision.

Harassment? I doubt there was anyone outside his house before this scandal.

Don’t be a mug!

Dave

What evidence is there that a 4 year old would be unsafe in the care of one or both parents having Covid 19 symptoms . I understood that Covid 19 had no a littel advcerse afeect upon children of that age. For that matter Covid does not a have severe effects upon most adults of Dominics age such that it would prevent reasonable care of his child. Dominic is a expert in deception.

This whole thing stinks

I watched the extraordinary Dominic Cummings press conference so you don’t have to. Here are some of the core issues.

It was supposed to start at 4pm, but Cummings kept everyone waiting for 34 minutes, a remarkable display of unprofessionalism and outright contempt with the media and the nation who were waiting for him.

The code of conduct for special advisers says that they must not take part in political controversies, which means the conference is just doubling-down on the incredibly arrogant “the rules don’t apply to me” mentality that caused the scandal in the first place.

At the beginning of the speech Cummings said that he was speaking on his own behalf, not on behalf of the government or the Prime Minister, which raises the question of why on earth he was doing it in the 10 Downing Street garden if he was making the speech in a personal capacity.

He admitted blatantly defying the self-isolation rules in two circumstances. First by attending work when his wife was ill, and then by packing his family into a car and driving up to the north east.

He admitted that he made no effort whatever to seek any kind of help or child care arrangements from people in London before transporting the virus up to the North East.

He admitted that he did not ask Boris Johnson or anyone else in the government for permission before deciding to transport the virus up to the North East.

Then he admitted that the trip to Barnard Castle happened, which he justified with the absurd story that he was worried about his eyesight, which is just absolute nonsense.

No responsible parent is going to put their young child in the car and then drive them around for hours, if they’re worried their eyesight is going to fail.

If anything he’s completely torpedoed the original excuse that he had to rush up to Durham because he loved his kid so much, because no parent in their right mind would argue that they had to drive their kid around because they were worried that their eyesight might fail!

He admitted that he told Boris Johnson about the lockdown-defying jaunt to Barnard Castle, but the Prime Minister decided not to ask for his resignation.

He admitted that he hasn’t offered his resignation, or even thought about it!

He came up with an absolutely ludicrous excuse for stonewalling the press over his whereabouts when they’ve been asking him for the last few weeks, using the speculative stories that happened in the absence of the truth as a reason for not just telling the truth in the beginning!

He repeatedly resorted to quibbling over the lockdown rules that he helped draft in the first place, which is an appalling look when he refused to accept the sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands of other people who followed the rules properly, despite suffering much worse situations than he had (like actual deaths in the family).

He used the same evasive blame-shifting tactics as a justification for the fact his wife wrote that Lockdown article for The Spectator that made absolutely no mention of the mad rush up to Durham, the trip to Barnard Castle, or the numerous woodland walks.

If he’s so upset about inaccuracies and lies in the media, he should obviously have confronted his wife first!

He refused to acknowledge that what he’d done was an example of “one rule for the privileged, and another rule for the rest of us”, or that what he’d done had undermined the government lockdown messaging.

The overwhelming impression was that Cummings repeatedly tried to cry for sympathy throughout his prepared speech and the questions from the media, and the fact that he absolutely refused to apologise or admit that he’d even done anything wrong (despite having admitted three separate breaches of the lockdown rules!).

It’s absolutely incredible that he thought that such a self-pitying, blame-shifting, excuse-laden, refusal to apologise would improve the situation, or that Boris Johnson decided that the 10 Downing Street garden was an appropriate setting for a personal speech like this.

The BBC then clearly indicated their position as official Tory propaganda mouthpieces by reading out three hyper-partisan pro-Cummings statements from Tory MPs at the end of the press conference, with no reply from opposition MPs, let alone any coverage of the massive outpouring of social media outrage and ridicule from the rest of the country.

Then they brought out two former Tory advisers (to Theresa May and David Cameron) as their first political interviewees.

The BBC message-managing on behalf of Cummings and the Tory party at the end was perhaps even more infuriating than the speech itself.

(144)(267)

Classical Economics

88 dislikes, looks like the “rah rah Exetah hah” toff Tory brigade are out in force today.

Clearly all sitting cozy, nothing to do at home on furlough, provided by ever-helpful Rishi the Spender, counting down the halcyon days until the scheme is over, then off to unemployment and Universal Credit you go.

Yawn

Nah, it’s one swivel eyed loon deleting his cookies, deliriously pleased that the old culture war might be back on.

Inspector Bantz

He’s reached 96 likes by now, that’s dangerously obsessive dedication right there. Might want to contact plod about this one.

Sergeant

141 as of 16.17.

I believe in you Brexit Dave, you can get it to 17,000,000

Major

Brexit Dawe

Reasonable Ronnie

The whole thing stinks

A great summary. Just one point you may have missed. DC stated his child was taken to hospital by ambulance. This was because DC was too poorly with COVID-19 (alleged) symptoms and there were no mini-cabs available. However, he then further stated he drove to the hospital the following day to pick up his child and wife – he must have been feeling a lot better the following day and where better for a self-isolating symptomatic covid- 19 person to visit but he said he never got out of the car ! Thats ok then !

Trainee

A perfectly rational, well-researched and persuasive comment on Legalcheek – which echoes the sentiment shared by 71% of the British public (check today’s polling figures), gets 250+ dislikes and counting.

Looks like the fragile Toryboys constantly pressing refresh on their computers to continually downvote are out in force today.

How ironic that they’re manipulating dislikes on an article about Dominic Cummings. The architect of the Vote Leave campaign which relied on social media manipulation, trolls, Russian bots, upvote farms and similar tactics to help sway public opinion. Obviously, the irony will be lost on them but everyone knows its true.

Downvote away.

Trainee

A spike of 80+ downvotes in the space of one hour late in the evening. Wow! It’s worth doing this just to waste the time of one sad individual who has to press refresh 80 times.

E mcdonald

You were talking sense for a while,then the stupidity took over,the people had a lot more sense than you give them credit for.

Jimmy

Brew dog brewery are making a second batch of barnard castle IPA ale due to demand. 1st batch sold out check it out nuff said.

Tommy

What I find appalling is the police managed turn up to his house, but my local police station didn’t turn up after 50 calls of house parties and people breaking the guidelines at least 10 times day and night for the whole of the lockdown period.

Is it one rule for Cummings and another rule for normal folk ?

Pat Hughes

Interesting to know which Labour activist contacted Durham police (31st March) to say it had been reported a certain individual had travelled from London to Durham City.

John dwane

His father ?

JDP

Thanks LC. Seeing “Dom” and “break” in the same sentence nearly gave half our partnership a heart attack.

1st Year Trainee

I watched the press conference yesterday and have seen the hysteria on Twitter since then.

Did he break the regulations? Perhaps – I don’t know and I don’t really care. A man took his ill son and wife to an isolated cottage to recover.

Hardly the crime of the bloo*y century is it?!

Denning

Back to your Principles of Contract Law son, your exams are due next week.

Gary Green

A combination of higher management, we better do something or we will be criticised, (you will anyway) , yes it’s so easy to criticise, the press is continually on the witch-hunt ,
In the name of truth , we all know that’s a joke, he who casts the first stone …….
What has happened to this great country of ours……
I feel we have truly slipped down the pan…..
to shit creek.

Larry Fame

Is this Gary Green of CMS fame and fortune?

Meh

When was it ever great? We still cling onto our wartime spirit, like utter losers

Anonymous

Judging by this comment section it is absolutely appalling yet entirely predictable that the Legal Cheek readership (i.e. under-25, privately educated and unworldly prats who are spending lockdown trapped in the gammon echo chamber that is their Tory parents’ family home) have seemingly decided to back Cummings. How? How was ‘Stay at Home’ not clear? How is driving 60 miles to ‘test’ your eyes (coincidentally on your wife’s birthday) a responsible (or legal) thing to do? His wife could have driven.

Anyone who backs Cummings has either been brainwashed or is jumping on the chance to justify their own lockdown breaches.

Old Boy

Nail on the head. Unbelievable that some of these LC cretins might one day become practicing lawyers. *shudder*

TonyC

I’m not a lawyer, but I’m saddened that you, as an Old Boy, don’t appear to know (or have forgotten) the difference in British English between practise (a verb) and practice (a noun). You should of course have written “… might one day become practising lawyers.”

The same distinction applies to other similar pairs of homophones: eg, license (verb) / licence (noun); prophesy/prophecy; and advise/advice (which is easier to get right because most people pronounce them differently).

Anonymous

Judging by this comment section it is absolutely appalling yet entirely predictable that the Legal Cheek readership (i.e. under-25, privately educated and unworldly prats who are spending lockdown trapped in the gammon echo chamber that is their Tory parents’ family home) have seemingly decided to back Cummings. How? How was ‘Stay at Home’ not clear? How is driving 60 miles to ‘test’ your eyes (coincidentally on your wife’s birthday) a responsible (or legal) thing to do? His wife could have driven.

Anyone who backs Cummings has either been brainwashed or is jumping on the chance to justify their own lockdown breaches.

Harsh but fair

I can understand why you are bitter. People who go to private schools are more intelligent and better educated than the gauche potted plants who emerge from the state system and who are no use to anyone.

Wilberforce

Did you revise all your Public Law lectures son? Don’t forget your exam is on Tuesday next week.

Anonymous

Poor craic

Kay cowling

Ha ha so funny really made me laugh

David Vass

In determining whether Cummings acted reasonably, a widely used term in legislation, one can surely go further in these unusual circumstances

Cummings is right that the list is not exhaustive,as this article points out, but the test of what else can be embraced by reasonableness is not, as Cummings seems to imply, what the individual thinks is reasonable – psychopaths think it reasonable to murder prostitutes.

The proper test is enshrined in precedent in McQuire v. Western Morning News in which reasonableness was defined as that which “the man on the Clapham omnibus” would think. Simply put, the opinion of the ordinary, decent person.

Only two questions therefore need to be asked to determine his culpability.

Do the majority of ordinary, decent people think it reasonable to drive 270 miles when both passenger and driver suspect they have corvid, in the hope that they will arrive at their destination without sustenance, fuel or mishap that would require contact with others?

Do the majority of ordinary, decent, educated person think it reasonable to drive a round trip of 60 miles as a means of establishing whether the driver’s eyesight is good enough?

If the answer to either is no, or even arguably no, his decision making should be called into question, and that’s only test needed when holding public office. A man in his position shouldn’t do things that are arguably unreasonable.

To be clear, I am not suggesting trial by baying crowd – proper process should of course take place if he is to be prosecuted, but the overwhelming opinion of the public, having had Cummings argument placed in front of them, is sufficient for his dismissal. He has lost the trust of most of us, is not an elected representative, and should go

Barrister

Yes, reasonableness is to be judged by what “the man on the Clapham omnibus” would do in the given situation – or to put it into more modern terms, what “a notional hypothetically reasonable person in [the defendant’s] position” would have done (per Lord Sumption in Hayes v Willoughby [2013] UKSC 17 at [14]). But this certainly does not mean the same thing as what “the majority of ordinary, decent people” would have done.

The exercise for the judge is not a factual inquiry into what the majority of real reasonable people would do in that situation, but a legal inquiry into what a hypothetical reasonable person would have done.

Hilarious

Wow I am actually in shock at the comment section of this article.

Rammed full of BoJo fan boys this legal industry!!

By far the worst PM we’ve ever had, weak, responsible for the most horrendous response to a viral pandemic (would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the fact that 50,000 people has died), and now his chief adviser master is a massive hypocrite.

And I am a Tory voter as well! Y’all need to learn to hold government accountable rather than bend over for BoJo!

Anon

I believe “Bend Over for Bojo” is going to be the campaign slogan for 2024.

Truth

Anyone defending Dom and his confirmed toyboy Boris are just simply deluded.

The childcare excuse is just pathetic. He could have got anyone of his friends or family to sort it out in London.

But that really isn’t the issue.

Its the fact that in late March, when a viral pandemic (responsible for killing nearly 60,000 people in our country to date) had hit the country with full force, with the R rate at uncontrollable levels and with Boris having announced the strictest lockdown measures this country has experienced since WWII..

His own chief adviser (who probably was responsible for setting the very lockdown measures Boris imposed) and his wife both had the nerve to jump into the car (both absolutely riddled with coronavirus and jam packed with viral loads) and travel the whole length of the country to Durham.

No doubt making a few stops on the way, coughing onto petrol pumps and turning service station toilet taps with their grubby viral loaded hands. Definitely no masks or gloves I am most certain of that. Most likely spreading the virus to a dozen people on their own that day, and probably responsible for killing a few grannies as a result of that journey alone.

And don’t even get me started with his little 60 mile round trip to a beauty spot on his wife’s birthday to test his ‘eyesight’ with his whole family in a fat 4×4!

His complete lack of remorse just proves he is an arrogant narcissistic elitist who thinks he can do whatever he wants.

Its no wonder we have the second highest death toll in the world.

Anon

Cummings being accused or mass murdering is the cherry on the cake of this hysteria

Disgruntled

Circa 34,000 is not “nearly 60,000”. At least get the argument straight.

Other than that though – I agree. People can quibble about the childcare point, but all the other rubbish he did in between is a complete nonsense.

The only reason he’s not resigned is because he has the shame to know he won’t be fired.

Disgruntled 2

Excess deaths is the most accurate figure. Over 60,000 due to impact of coronavirus.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/26/uks-covid-19-death-toll-rises-60000/

tips@legalcheek.com

Partially yes but it does mean that all these deaths were caused by the virus. More likely other deceases, where people were too worried to go to hospital (in fear of getting the virus) or just did not get treatment in time because the medical system is overloaded.

Such statistics are more useful in less transparent countries like Russia, Ukraine, Mexico or Brazil where the response to the pandemic is shambolic and / or governments intentionally lower the real death statistics (either by refusing to do tests for many sick people or by crudely altering the statistics) to make the government look better.

British government certainly has its flows but it would never attempt anything like this.

Floehoe

Lmao just you watch, the British government definitely has its “flows”, and fudging the total death count is one of them. Read the FT sometime you cretin, you might begin to think a little.

Disgruntled

Don’t use that nonsense to support your statement. You said Covid-19 caused all those deaths; there is no evidential proof some, and laughable to say all, of those excess death come about as a result of Covid-19.

You’re trudging very close to flat-earther rationale.

Disgruntled!

Flat earther rationale?

The original poster just said Covid ‘was responsible’ for the 60,000 deaths.
Whether you like it or not, the virus as a variable has led to 60,000 excess deaths compared to previous years.

Excess deaths have been repeatedly emphasised as the most accurate measure of the virus’ impact by all scientists.

Of course it doesn’t mean every single person died directly from the virus. But what it does show is that whether by draconian and poorly timed lockdown laws, faulty policy, lack of testing, (still) no screening in airports, strange 3-worded sloganeering, no mandatory imposition of masks or through mismanagement of care homes, the impact of the virus has led to this extraordinary number of excess deaths. By far the highest in Europe with a 2-week warning.

pat hughes

He should not be fired. Let him pay a fine. He did not break social distancing rules at any time. Who hasn’t nipped out to their local shop for fags or chocs or other non essentials. Labour MPs have broken social distancing rules galore are they resigning? To name a few Stephen KinnochMP drove 100’s miles to visit parents. Tahir Ali MP attended a funeral with 100 mourners. Vaughn Gething (Labour health secretary-Wales) broke their own “No picnics in park policy” by having a picnic in park with family. Kervan Jones MP attended a constituent’s Birthday party. Dominic Cummings may not be the most likeable person but there is no way he deserves this witch hunt.

Yea yea

Had any of them caught the virus and left their house to travel 300 miles? No. Dom endangered life. End of story.

Kay cowling

He should be knighted

Pack it in!

Ahh as I suspected!

One of my comments I just posted just received 35 downvotes within the space of a couple minutes as I refreshed the page.

Seems we have solitary Cummings lover on this article refreshing like crazy and giving it 30+ down votes just to get his point across haha!!

Not to fret everyone, just one rogue weirdo spamming the page. Give it a rest mate you are wasting your time

Steve

Lol. This a what is wrong with the left. The bare denial of reality or votes. Just cook up a conspiracy.

Pipe down

Yeah alright steve pipe down mate. Keep on being a deluded sycophant

Oh dear

haha was it you Steve? Found the culprit!

Phil B

Oh dear, my wife is ill and might have covid-19.
I’m really worried about my 4 year old son. How can I sfe guard him.
Oh, I know, I will place him, my wife and me in the confined space of a car and drive for 5 hours. That should ensure he doesn’t catch anything.
Jeez.

Reassured

Ahhh as I suspected.

I just posted something and instantly received +30 downvotes within the space of a couple minutes as I refreshed the page.

It seems there is a rogue Cummings fan on the legal page article, spamming downvotes whenever he can.

To be honest, it is deeply reassuring that it is one fanatic wasting his time dishing out dislikes. I thought the legal cheek readership were all brainwashed for a second.

Mate, you need to pack it in! There are more productive ways to spend your time

Pat Hughes

I have posted twice but they cannot be found. Last bout 10 minutes ago. What’s going on? Waste of time!

Anonymous Ciaran Goggins

Which law do you mean? The one for the rich or the one for the poor? Still waiting on North Wales Police to arrest Louise Mensch for naming Ched Evans “victim”.

Barrister

Personally I very much doubt that anyone would be successfully prosecuted for going to Durham in the circumstances Cummings describes (ie to ensure emergency childcare would be available for a four year old in case of need in circumstances where both parents were coming down with the virus and might be incapacitated, presuming it is right he did not have closer acceptable childcare options).

But his going back to work on 27 March after contact with his symptomatic wife was a clear breach of government guidance (though not the law) and its hard to see how the Barnard Castle trip could be reasonable (and therefore legal) even if a court accepted he was not lying about his motive for going there (which he clearly was).

Kay cowlin

He should be knighted

Big AL

For a Government Chief Planner i am afraid his Rose Garden explanation had more leaks that the proverbial sieve.

First of all when the Health Secretary contacted the virus, followed by the PM , Health Minister et al, then DC. One would have thought that being a head planner DC would have thought, what if the family comes down and get infected? I therefore need to make contingency plans.

At that point in time all manner of options were open, including a private ambulance. if the journey became necessary. That way he could have avoided claims of potential child abuse in subjecting a 4 year oId child to an unnecessary long, non stop, car journey.

In undertaking the Durham trip he knew he would receive a press mauling. In his own words however, when asked by a reporter in the Rose Garden ” “Could you not have asked for help from colleagues/friends in London” he gave two explanations, the first being “I didn’t think about it. The second was that as he thought the family had contacted the virus he did not want to put anyone else at risk. What on earth did he think a trip to Durham was going to do?

The trip to Barnard Castle was the most foolish thing he could have done. A driver myself, you know whether you are capable of making a 264 mile trip without going for a test drive. That comment alone, is an insult to people’s intelligence, who have all suffered under the lockdown. The comment from Durham Police spoke volumes. Had Mr Cummings been stopped by one of our officers he would have been advised to return to the address in Durham from where he started the journey. If he had accepted that advice there would have been no need to enforce it.

To sum up, a bad decision made by someone who should know better. His cavalier attitude of not apologizing because in his eyes he had done nothing wrong, did nothing to pour oil on troubled waters. It did however portray an arrogance to the ones that have followed the medical advice throughout. This presumably causing a backlash which no one envisaged that has caused a rapid decrease in Gov. support. This mainly due to the PM refusing to deal with it! “What you sow however, you will surely reap!” if ever there was a truer saying!

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