DOMINIC CUMMINGS, the Prime Minister’s top aide, has been accused of breaking lockdown rules after travelling more than 250 miles from London to Durham while having coronavirus symptoms. Who is Mr Cummings’ wife Mary Wakefield and how old is their child?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings travelled 260 miles from London to his family home in County Durham during lockdown. Police have confirmed they attended a property in Durham after it emerged Mr Cummings stayed with relatives while he and wife Mary Wakefield were suffering from coronavirus-related symptoms. Speaking from Downing Street on Monday, Mr Cummings confirmed the couple went to his parents’ home to self-isolate so he would have access to childcare should he or his wife become incapacitated.
In the hour-long press conference, the senior aide refused to apologise for his actions, although he conceded that “reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in the circumstances”.
But he spoke further fury when he said: “I don’t regret what I did… I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances. The rules made clear that if you are dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances.
“And I think that the situation that I was in was exceptional circumstances, and the way that I dealt with it was the least risk to everybody concerned if my wife and I had both been unable to look after our four-year-old.”
He also revealed that despite the backlash he has “not considered” resigning.
No 10 has defended the move saying “it was essential for Mr Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.”
Mr Cummings said he did the “right thing” by travelling to his family because he wanted to ensure he had childcare if he got symptoms.
Downing Street added Mr Cummings believed he “behaved reasonably and legally” when travelling from his London home to Country Durham during the lockdown”.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.
“His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed.
“His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside. At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported.
“His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.”
Members of the cabinet have also lined up to defend the Prime Minister’s top aide, while the PM himself conducted Sunday night’s press conference to respond to the allegations.
Speaking on Sundya, May 24, Mr Johnson said: “I can tell you today I have had extensive face to face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus.
“And when he had no alternative, I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent. And I do not mark him down for that. And though there have been many other allegations about what happened when he was in self-isolation and thereafter, some of them palpably false.
“I believe that in every respect he has acted responsibly, and legally, and with integrity, and with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.
“And I stress this fundamental aim, because it is thanks to this country’s collective resolve in achieving that aim that we continue to make progress.”
Who is Mary Wakefield?
Ms Wakefield is a journalist, columnist and commissioning editor for The Spectator.
She has worked at the weekly magazine The Spectator for decades and was working at the weekly current affairs magazine when Boris Johnson was editor.
She has also written for The Sun, Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Times.
Ms Wakefield has written in The Spectator about her experience when both she and Mr Cummings contracted COVID-19.
The Prime Minister’s top aide was so badly affected by coronavirus he “should have been in hospital”, his wife has revealed.
Writing in The Spectator, Ms Wakefield described how she was stricken by the disease first and her “kind” husband had rushed home to look after her.
However, she went on, 24 hours later Mr Cummings said he felt “weird” and collapsed.
She wrote: “Day in, day out for 10 days he lay doggo with a high fever and spasms.
“Just as Dom was beginning to feel better … Boris was heading in the other direction, into hospital.”
Ms Wakefield and Mr Cummings married in 2011.
How old is Dominic Cummings’ child?
Mr Cummings and Ms Wakefield’s son, named Alexander Cedd, was born in 2016.