In Brief

Met police urged to investigate Dominic Cummings’s Durham trip

Former chief prosecutor fears ‘prosecutors have not received all relevant information’ about the No. 10 adviser’s journey

The former chief prosecutor for northwest England is urging police in London and Durham and the Crown Prosecution Service to launch new investigations into alleged lockdown breaches by Dominic Cummings.

Lawyers for Nazir Afzal have written to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick demanding a probe into whether Boris Johnson’s chief adviser broke the law when he drove 260 miles from London to Durham at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, The Guardian says.

The “continuing pressing public imperative to ensure strict compliance” with pandemic restrictions “makes this matter urgent”, says the letter on behalf on Afzal - who The Independent describes as the “figurehead of a citizens’s bid” to ensure Cummings faces prosecution.

The former prosecutors legal team has also written to the chief constable of Durham Police, Jo Farrell, and Public Prosecutions Director Max Hill calling for further investigation of the Downing Street aide’s behaviour. Dick, Farrell and Hill have been given 14 days to respond, according to The Guardian.

Durham Constabulary has already conducted a short probe into Cummings’ actions, but only assessed his movements within the county and not his trip from London

That investigation, which concluded in May, found that Cummings “might have” breached coronavirus legislation by making a 52-mile round trip to Barnard Castle with his wife and son on her birthday. The force decided to take no further action, however.

Afzal - whose brother died in early April after battling Covid-19 - says he is “concerned that police and prosecutors have not received all relevant information and that their decision-making will be incomplete as a result”.

The call for action comes weeks after a member of the public filed a High Court challenge to the CPS decision not to investigate Cummings’ alleged lockdown breaches. 

Martin Redston, who is crowdfunding the legal bid, said an urgent judicial review was needed to counter a “Cummings effect” that he claims has undermined the government message on social distancing, as the London Evening Standard reported at the time.

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