Police challenge Government over Dominic Cummings lockdown denial

Durham Constabulary has claimed police officers did speak to Dominic Cummings' father following Downing Street denials there was any contact with his family over his alleged lockdown breaches.

In a statement, in which Durham Police took the unusual move of naming Mr Cummings, the force said his father contacted them following reports the Prime Minister's chief aide had travelled 260 miles from his home in London to Durham.

But No 10 had said on Saturday morning: "At no stage was he [Mr Cummings] or his family spoken to about this matter, as is being reported."

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Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Dominic Cummings, Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister, arrives in Downing Street, London.
Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, arrives in Downing Street, London.
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisor Dominic Cummings, left, leave 10 Downing Street in London, and get in a car together to go to the Houses of Parliament, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it's Parliament's fault, not his, that Britain will not be leaving the European Union as scheduled on Oct. 31. The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit until Jan. 31, 2020, after Johnson failed to get British lawmakers to ratify his divorce deal with the bloc in time to leave this week. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Senior political aide Dominic Cummings speaks to Stuart Wheeler, at his book launch for Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics, at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Stuart Wheeler (left) with Dominic Cummings at the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Pro remain campaigner Steve Bray interviews Dominic Cummings as he arrives at the Cabinet office in London,United Kingdom on 22nd August 2019. (photo by Claire Doherty/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street, London.
Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings leaves following a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his senior aid Dominic Cummings as they leave Downing Street, central London.
Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings, in Downing Street in Westminster, London.
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 7: Dominic Cummings, special advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at 10 Downing Street on August 7, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Number 10 Chief of Staff Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street in central London on August 2, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also reiterated the Government statement was "black and white" at the daily Downing Street briefing later in the day.

However, the statement from the force on Saturday differed from its previous response over what officers spoke to Mr Cummings' father about.

The initial response to the allegations on Friday said officers explained to Mr Cummings' family the guidelines around "self-isolation" and reiterated the "appropriate advice around essential travel".

But Saturday's statement said officers provided advice about "security issues".

Durham Police has not yet clarified what this means and if this is the same as guidelines around self-isolation and avoiding non-essential travel.

The force's updated statement read: "Following a significant number of media inquiries over the weekend, Durham Constabulary can add the following detail.

"On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware that Dominic Cummings had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.

"At the request of Mr Cummings' father, an officer made contact the following morning by telephone.

"During that conversation, Mr Cummings' father confirmed that his son had travelled with his family from London to the North East and was self-isolating in part of the property.

"Durham Constabulary deemed that no further action was required. However, the officer did provide advice in relation to security issues."

It comes amid growing pressure for Mr Cummings to resign.

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