Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to fire his biggest help, Dominic Cummings, for lifting the lockdown.
Mr. Cummings has been found to have traveled to his parents’ home despite coronavirus-related limitations.
Police have confirmed they visited a County Durham home after Dominic Cummings traveled more than 260 miles from his London home during the shutdown his boss had just announced.
Political leaders have put pressure on Mr. Johnson to fire the 48-year-old strategist for ignoring the rules.
Downing Street has so far declined to comment.
According to a joint investigation by the Daily Mirror and the Guardian, while the British government ordered the people to stay at home – with fines for those who break the rules – the British government decided to escape from the capital.
He is said to have been at his childhood home when Durham Constabulary police turned up on March 31, after a phone call from someone who reported seeing Mr. Cummings in the area.
Durham police confirmed that officers had spoken to the owners of an address after reports that a person had traveled there from London.
A spokesman said, “On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were notified of reports that a person had traveled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.
Officers have contacted the owners of that address who have confirmed that the person in question was present and isolated themselves in part of the house.
“In accordance with national police guidance, officers explained the arrangements for self-isolation guidelines to the family and repeated appropriate advice on essential travel.”
An unnamed neighbor told the two papers that Mr. Cummings was seen in the garden five days after the police visit while Abba’s Dancing Queen was playing loudly.
“I got the shock of my life when I looked at the gate and saw it,” they said.
“I recognized Dominic Cummings, he’s a very distinctive figure.”
Former Conservative MP David Liddington, who was de facto Deputy Prime Minister under Theresa May, was one of those who said the news raised serious questions.
He told BBC Newsnight: “There are clearly serious questions that No. 10 will have to address, not least because the willingness of members of the public to more generally follow government leadership will be influenced by stories like this. “
Similar examples of government officials ignoring the lockdown guidelines have led to the dismissal and sentencing of senior Tories.
When Professor Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist whose modeling caused the blockage, quit as a member of the Emergency Scientific Advisory Group for violating distance rules when visited by his girlfriend, health secretary Matt Hancock said he was “speechless.”
Downing Street had previously confirmed that Mr. Cummings started showing coronavirus symptoms on March 28-29. “
On the same day that the police spoke to members of Mr Cummings’ family, his boss, Mr Johnson, was admitted to the hospital with coronavirus, where he was later treated in intensive care.
Ian Blackford, leader of SNP Westminster, said the assistant’s position was “completely untenable.”
“He must quit or be fired,” he added.
Sir Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, called on Cummings to stop the charges, while a Labor spokesman said, “The British people don’t expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings. “
But friends of Mr. Cummings suggested he wouldn’t go anywhere.
One of them told the PA news agency, “He has no qualms about this story, it’s more fake news from the Guardian.
“There is no chance of him resigning.”
The news comes when authorities managing beaches and beauty spots brace themselves for a large influx of visitors over the party weekend, which is expected to put pressure on social distance rules.
After easing some closing measures last week, there are no restrictions on how far people can go to get to England’s countryside, national parks and beaches.
But the authorities in many tourist hotspots are urging people to stay away.
Questions also remain as to whether the British could go on holiday this summer after Interior Minister Priti Patel announced plans to come into effect on June 8, for travelers – including residents returning home after a break – to quarantine for two weeks in the UK upon arrival.
Ms Patel said during the Downing Street briefing on Friday that government leadership persisted in advising against all essential travel abroad.
In addition to pressure on Mr Cummings, ministers faced backlash from the airline and travel sector after the publication of more details about plans to sample international travelers and £ 1,000 fines if they did not isolate themselves within 14 days of arriving UK.
Exceptions apply to road hauliers, seasonal agricultural workers and medical officials, while the common travel area with Ireland remains unaffected.
However, arrivals from France have not been exempt, after confusion in recent days.
Virgin Atlantic warned that the plan would ground aircraft.
In other news:
Children would be half as likely to develop coronavirus as adults, according to a survey of global studies led by University College London.
– The government’s Scientific Emergency Advisory Group (Sage) published articles assessing the impact of relaxing school closings on June 1 stating that the evidence for the likelihood of children transmitting Covid-19 remains “inconclusive”.
– The so-called R number, the average number of people who will contract an infected person’s coronavirus, was between 0.7 and 1.0 in the UK two to three weeks ago – slightly higher than the latest rate declared by ministers.
– The deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK exceeded 45,000, according to the latest available data.