Dominic Cummings will not face police action over his lockdown trip to Barnard Castle.
Durham Police said in a statement that Boris Johnson’s chief adviser “might have” breached the coronavirus lockdown rules, but confirmed it “will take no further action”.
Cummings drove 26 miles to the town from his parents’ property in Durham – where he had been self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms – on 12 April.
He claimed it was to test his driving capabilities ahead of the 260-mile journey back to London the next day.
Durham Police said the force “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.”
The force added it has not taken retrospective lockdown action against anyone since it was imposed on 23 March.
“Therefore Durham Constabulary will take no further action in this matter and has informed Mr Cummings of this decision.”
The meaning of the statement was examined by legal commentator David Allen Green, who tweeted that when Durham Constabulary said “there might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention” it was not saying there “might” have been a breach.
Instead, he believes the “might” refers to possibility that police intervention “might” have been warranted, and believes Durham is saying there was a breach of the regulations.
Cummings has insisted he did not break the rules, saying in an extraordinary press conference on 25 May: “I believe that in all circumstances I behaved reasonably and legally, balancing the safety of my family and the extreme situation in Number 10, and the public interest in effective government to which I could contribute.”
Johnson has been under huge pressure since the story broke at the weekend, with many backbench Tory MPs calling for Cummings to go. The PM, however, stood by his key aide.
Johnson’s official spokesman reinforced this on Thursday, saying: “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.”
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