All Monday’s UK coronavirus developments as Boris Johnson shows no sign of removing backing from chief adviser after his breach of lockdown rules
We’re going to close down this live blog now. Thanks for reading and commenting. Here’s a summary of the day’s events:
- The prime minister again stood by his chief aide, despite his admission that he breached the lockdown. Boris Johnson sought to move the public discourse on after days of damaging revelations about Dominic Cummings’ conduct. But his own judgment was questioned by some.
- Cummings insisted he did not regret his actions. While he said he understood people’s anger, he refused to apologise and said he did not regret what he had done.
- After weeks of seeking to avoid scrutiny, Cummings acknowledged he had made repeated journeys away from his residence. In a highly unusual move, the unelected adviser used No 10 as the backdrop for a personal press conference called, it was said, to give him a chance to explain his reasoning. For weeks, Downing Street had declined opportunities to substantively address questions about Cummings’ adherence to lockdown instructions.
- Cummings claimed to have driven 60 miles to test his eyesight. Seeking to explain his decision to drive his wife and young son to a local beauty spot from his parents’ residence, where he had taken the family during the lockdown, Cummings said he was unsure his eyesight was up to the drive to London and wanted to test it out. The prime minister later insisted he believed the excuse was plausible.
- The Durham police watchdog formally asked the force to investigate Cummings. Steve White, the acting police, crime and victims’ commissioner, asked for an investigation to establish the facts around the prime minister’s principal adviser’s time in the Durham area during the lockdown.
- Durham police confirmed more complaints had been made. The force said it received “further information and complaints from members of the public and we are reviewing and examining that information”.
- Some shops are to be allowed to reopen from 1 June, the prime minister announced. Johnson said he was allowing outdoor markets and car showrooms to open because their open nature means they represent a lower risk than indoor places.
- A Somerset hospital stopped accepting new patients due to high number with Covid-19. Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare took the step, which included admissions to its A&E department, from 8am on Monday “to maintain patient and staff safety”.
If you’d like to read yet more, my colleague Rowena Mason has the full story: