'This was staying put': Grant Shapps attempts to defend Dominic Cummings' 500-mile lockdown round trip to Durham
The transport secretary has insisted the government's chief advisor Dominic Cummings did not break the lockdown rules when he made a 500-mile round trip to his family in Durham.
Giving the government's daily press conference on coronavirus, Grant Shapps said Mr Cummings had "stayed put" after he developed symptoms of coronavirus.
"The important thing is everyone remains in the same place whilst we are in lockdown, while this is exactly what happened with Mr Cummings.
"The PM would have known he was staying put and he didn’t come out again until he was feeling better."
Questioned by journalists whether Mr Cummings's actions had breached the lockdown regulations, Mr Shapps said the guidance included space for parents to take "practical steps" to protect the welfare of their children.
An earlier statement by Downing Street said Mr Cummings took his wife and four-year-old son to stay near his family in Durham after his wife became ill with suspected Covid-19.
"Owing to... the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for," the statement said.
"The reality of the matter is the four-year-old child’s welfare is the important thing," Mr Shapps insisted.
"Eventually you would either have to try to be close enough to your family to provide that care. And that is what happened in this case, I understand a sister and a niece – younger members of the family - were able to bring food to the property ...
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