Transport Secretary defends PM chief special advisor Dominic Cummings and other stories

Effigy of Cummings as Boris Johnson’s puppet-master at the People’s Vote march, in October 2019. Edited Image: ClemRutter. CC BY-SA 4.0

Cabinet Minister says allegations Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules are false

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says claims by the Guardian/Observer and Mirror that Dominic Cummings made a second trip to Durham during the lockdown are ‘completely untrue.’

The government has continued to defend Mr Cummings and counterclaim inaccuracies in the newspapers’ reporting of the affair.

Grant Shapps has been appearing on Sunday morning political programmes.

On Sky News on Sunday he said fresh allegations that Mr Cummings made a second trip to visit his parents in Durham were false.

Back-bench Conservative MP and a longstanding critic of Dominic Cummings has called for his resignation.

Stephen Baker says: ‘It is intolerable that Boris’ government is losing so much political capital.’

He wrote on Twitter: ‘Dominic Cummings must go.’

Cummings masterminded the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union during the Brexit referendum.

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He travelled to Durham in late March when measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus were already in place.

Boris Johnson’s office said on Saturday he made the journey to ensure his 4-year-old son could be properly cared for as his wife was ill with COVID-19 and there was a ‘high likelihood’ that Cummings would himself become unwell.

ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston has tweeted that Dominic Cummings’ departure from Number 10 Downing Street is ‘only a matter of time.’

It seems he has been taking soundings from inside government.

Fear care homes ‘could go to the wall’ due to rising costs from the coronavirus pandemic

Care sector home leaders are worried that the COVID-19 crisis means many residential homes may have to close.

The BBC reports that thirty out of 102 care providers contacted said none of their staff had been tested.

Care home providers are complaining the government response has been ‘patchy and inconsistent.’

But The Department of Health and Social Care insists all care staff and residents can now be tested, regardless of symptoms.

China’s proposed security laws for Hong Kong face growing global outcry

Almost 200 political figures from around the world have added to condemnation of Beijing’s proposed national security laws for Hong Kong.

The signatories include 17 members of the US Congress.

China proposes to set up government intelligence bases in the territory.

It also wants to prevent a repeat of last year when Hong Kong saw months of protests triggered by a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

Calls to let grass verges grow and wild flowers to flourish after lockdown

Environmental campaigners in Wales are urging local councils to leave grass verges to spout up with wild flowers on roadsides.

During the lockdown they have become habitats for species of flowers and bees.

Some local authorities have said they are only cutting verges that affect footpaths or visibility of motorists.

With many council services on hold, the coronavirus lockdown has enabled rare orchids, buttercups, clover and cowslips to bloom where as in the past they would have been cut down.


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