In Brief

Dominic Cummings under pressure to explain second Durham trip as public lose trust

Downing Street facing calls to produce evidence senior aide did not make a second lockdown journey

A couple who claim they witnessed Dominic Cummings during a second coronavirus lockdown trip have complained to the police watchdog saying the allegation was not properly investigated.

Dave and Clare Edwards filed an official complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct on Wednesday, claiming that the Durham Police investigation was “below the standard we would expect from our local constabulary”, the Daily Mirror reports.

The pair say they are “100% certain” they saw Cummings walking in Houghall Woods near Durham on the morning of 19 April, while a third witness also claims to have seen Boris Johnson’s senior aide, adding: “I would recognise him again.”

Another new witness, who wished to remain anonymous, also said “they saw the No.10 aide and his wife walking between the local beauty spot and the family home the same morning”, the paper adds. 

Cummings previously dismissed the claims that he was seen on 19 April, describing the allegations as “false” when the Mirror and The Guardian revealed his first trip to Durham earlier this year.

The allegation that he took a second trip to Durham coincides with the release of a survey by University College London (UCL) researchers which found a dip in public confidence in the government after the allegations first surfaced

Labeled the “Cummings effect” by The Telegraph, the survey asked respondents to rank how much confidence they had in the government’s handling of the pandemic on a scale of one (none) to seven (a lot), ITV News says.

Among participants in England, confidence fell by around 0.4 points between 21 and 25 May, according to the study published in The Lancet. News of Cummings’s trip with his wife and child broke on 22 May.

Confidence “never bounced back”, The Telegraph reports, with lead author of the study Dr Daisy Fancourt adding that “these data illustrate the negative and lasting consequences that political decisions can have for public trust and the risks to behaviours”.

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