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Dominic Cummings has ‘undermined public confidence in lockdown’



Northumbria’s Labour PCC Kim McGuinness said she was worried that people’s attitudes towards lockdown has changed since the Dominic Cummings scandal (Picture: BBC/EPA)

The Dominic Cummings saga seems to have ‘undermined’ public confidence in the coronavirus lockdown,  according to one police and crime commissioner.

Kim McGuinness, Northumbria’s Labour PCC, says she is concerned that willingness to follow restrictions has already waned since the PM’s top aide was revealed to have travelled to Durham during the lockdown, and to have taken a second trip to Barnard Castle to see if he was fit enough to drive.

Speaking to BBC’s Newsnight, Ms McGuinness said: ‘We’re already anecdotally hearing from MPs, from the media, from police officers that people are using Dominic Cummings as an excuse when they’re approached about why they’re breaking lockdown rules.

‘So whilst people have been great in the last eight weeks, they’ve been, by and large, listening to the lockdown because we’re in it together fighting this deadly virus, that confidence is starting to erode and if test, track and trace is going to work we need to get that back on track.

‘I think people do feel that Dominic Cummings’s action undermines everything that they’ve all put themselves through, the things that they’ve missed, the people that they’ve missed and all of that.’

The former Newcastle City councillor said police would always be there to ensure the public abide by lockdown rules following clear breaches.

However, she believes that some of the advice is not always ‘enforceable’ – including social distancing, which is a ‘complex’ issue.

She said: ‘I also think that we’re at the back end of a lot of very complex and confused messaging from Government who haven’t been clear about what the rules are and why the rules are there.

‘You know, why can you meet one person and not two people, social distancing is optional and so on.

‘And so the police have been there to enforce it, to keep us safe and they’ve done that but that goodwill with people is so very important and Dominic Cummings completely undermined that and then the Prime Minister has refused to hold him to account.’

It comes after Mike Barton, ex-chief constable of Durham Police, asked: ‘How on earth are the police supposed to enforce the rules now?’

The former top cop has warned the lockdown is ‘dead in the water’ after the prime minister defended Mr Cummings’ actions.

Appearing before the Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday afternoon, Boris Johnson admitted it had been a ‘frustrating episode’, but told the public to ‘move on’.

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