Dominic Cummings' lockdown journey from London to County Durham has been slammed as "most unwise" and labelled “concerning” by the region’s acting police and crime commissioner.
In a statement released Saturday morning, Steve White said: "Given the whole ethos of the guidance and regulations issued from the Government was to reduce the spread, regardless of reason, by travelling to County Durham when known to be infected was most unwise.
"To beat this crisis, we need to be selfless as millions have been. The response by the people of County Durham and Darlington have been exemplary, which makes this most frustrating and concerning."
Mr Cummings – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s most senior advisor -– made the 260-mile trip to stay at his parent’s property in the middle of coronavirus restrictions.
Although Downing Street initially refused to comment on the revelation, a spokesman has since claimed the journey was essential.
They said that, because Mr Cummings’ wife Mary Wakefield was displaying coronavirus symptoms, the couple were forced to drive the length of the country with their young son so he could then be looked after by Mr Cummings elderly parents.
The claim that such behaviour – effectively using grandparents for childcare – remained within the government’s own guidelines has been met with confusion by millions of mothers and fathers across the country who have been struggling desperately without the help of grandparents for more than two months.
Mr White, a former head of the Police Federation in England and Wales, added: "Incidents such as this do not help, and I can appreciate that the longer this goes on the harder it gets, but I encourage the people of County Durham and Darlington to keep up the outstanding effort seen so far by using common sense when following the guidance to stay alert and continue to social distance."
In its own contortionist-like statement, Downing Street said: “Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and 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.
"His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed. His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside.”