Jeremy Hunt says he believes Dominic Cummings broke lockdown 'three times'

26 May 2020, 17:33 | Updated: 26 May 2020, 18:24

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt. Picture: PA
Maddie Goodfellow

By Maddie Goodfellow

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that he believes Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules three times, but that he does not believe the Prime Minister's advisor should resign.

In a letter to a constituent, Mr Hunt said: "Having watched the broadcast yesterday, my own view is that what he did was a clear breach of the lockdown rules - coming back into work when he had been with his wife who was ill, driving to Durham instead of staying at home and visiting Barnard Castle.

"These were clearly mistakes - both in terms of the guidance which was crystal clear, and in terms of the signal it would potentially give out to others as someone who was at the centre of government."

However, in the letter, which has been seen by the Guardian, Mr Hunt said he will not join calls for Mr Cummings to resign.

In a tweet, Mr Hunt said: "For the sake of completeness my whole comment below: as someone who has themselves made mistakes at the centre of a media storm I’m NOT calling for resignation & don’t think searching for the next scalp is a good trait in British politics."

He said to the constituent: “As someone who has been at the centre of media storms with a young family, I know you do make mistakes in these situations.

"I am also not convinced that politics gains much from the spectacle of scalp-hunting even though I recognise that accountability is central to our democracy and sometimes people do need to resign.

“I will be questioning the Prime Minister about this at the Liaison Committee on Wednesday,” he said.

“I actually think this matters far more than Dominic Cummings although I am sure he will get plenty of questions on that too.”

He concluded that it is more important to hold the government to account on “whether we really are going to follow global best practice and introduce Korean/German track and trace so we kill off a second wave of the virus and get the economy back on its feet.”

Mr Cummings - an unelected civil servant - took the unprecedented step of holding a press conference yesterday afternoon to answer allegations he had broken lockdown rules to travel 260-miles from London to Durham to self-isolate with his family when he and his wife fell ill.

The reason for this, he claimed, was because they were worried they would not be able to fully care for their young son if they were both ill, and wanted to be closer to family who had offered support.

But he came under further fire after admitting to driving 30-miles to Barnard Castle and briefing stopping on a river bank - despite the rest of the country being told to "Stay Home".

Mr Cummings said he had driven to the local beauty spot with his wife and young child in the car to "test his eyesight" before returning to London.

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