According to the statement he gave during a press conference Monday afternoon, chief adiviser to the prime minister, Dominic Cummings, embarked on a 260 mile round trip to his parents' County Durham farm while he and his wife were self-isolating due to Covid-19 symptoms. Cummings claims he did this in order to provide childcare for his four-year-old son in the event he and his wife were unable to look after him. Before making the return trip, the govenment aide says he also drove to Barnard Castle - 30 minutes away - to test his eyesight: "My wife was very worried, particularly as my eyesight seemed to have been affected by [Covid-19]. She did not want to risk a nearly 300-mile drive with our child, given how ill I had been." Adding: "We agreed that we should go for a short drive to see if I could drive safely."
Backed up by the prime minister, Cummings says he acted "reasonably", stating: "I don't regret what I did". He has faced furious criticism though, from within the Conservative Party, opposition MPs and most vehemently from the general public who see this apparent breaking of lockdown rules, so painstakingly followed by the majority of citizens, as a slap in the face for the millions of people making incredible, often heartbreaking, sacrifices for the good of others.
Calls for him to be relieved of his position were not heeded by Boris Johnson, but as a YouGov poll conducted after the press conference shows, the majority of the public is still calling for it - 6 points more than before his public statement. As for the question of whether Cummings specifically broke lockdown rules, more than two-thirds said they think he did.