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Legal challenge on ‘failure to investigate’ Dominic Cummings reaches High Court

Jonathan Brady

By Sam Tobin, PA

A legal challenge over the decision not to investigate Dominic Cummings for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules will be heard by the High Court.

The Prime Minister’s chief adviser made a controversial 260-mile drive from London to Durham in March with his wife, journalist Mary Wakefield, and their four-year-old son to stay on his parents’ farm while strict travel restrictions were in place.

In an extraordinary press conference in the 10 Downing Street garden in May, Mr Cummings argued that his journey to Durham was justified as he sought to protect his family’s health.

Boris Johnson’s senior aide also said he subsequently took a “short drive” to Barnard Castle, around 25 miles away from where he was isolating, on his wife’s 45th birthday to test his eyesight after it was affected by Covid-19, to “see if I could drive safely”.

Mr Cummings declined to apologise, saying his actions were “reasonable in these circumstances”, adding: “I don’t regret what I did”.

A snap poll of 1,160 adults by YouGov found that 71% of Britons believed Mr Cummings broke the lockdown.

Durham Police later said officers had concluded “there might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention”, but did not intend to take “retrospective action”.

London resident Martin Redston is taking legal action against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Max Hill QC, over the alleged failure to properly consider whether Mr Cummings breached lockdown rules.

His application for permission to bring a full High Court challenge against the DPP will be heard by Lady Justice Carr and Mr Justice Picken at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday afternoon.

On a crowdfunding page set up to cover his potential legal costs – which has so far raised almost £45,000 – Mr Redston said: “I, like many other citizens, have fully complied with the Government’s lockdown requirements at all times.

“Despite the police and the public having been made aware of Mr Cummings’ potential breaches of the rules since May 22 2020, there has been no investigation into those potential breaches in London.

“The rule of law should apply for all persons, irrespective of any friendships in Government.

“The public health measures which were put in place to protect us must be applied to everyone, including in particular those who helped to make the rules.

“A number of individuals in public office who have flouted those strict rules have resigned.

“That provided some accountability for breach of the law by those who are central to the public health message and the need to encourage full compliance.

“In respect of Mr Cummings, however, representatives of the Government have taken to social media in support of him.”

He said there had been “no indication that any state authority, including the DPP, shall inquire into the matters relating to the London breaches”.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman previously said: “Investigations into alleged criminal conduct are a matter for the relevant police force.

“This application for judicial review will be contested and in those circumstances we cannot comment further.”

The hearing, which is being conducted in person, is due to begin at 2pm.

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