Dominic Cummings is under further pressure to resign after allegations he broke lockdown rules for a second time.

The prime minister’s top adviser drove 260 miles from London to Durham with his wife and young son in March to self-isolate at a family property despite strict restrictions against long-distance journeys.

Now, the Sunday Mirror and The Observer claim he made a second trip to Durham and was seen there on 19 April – five days after being photographed in Downing Street on his return to Westminster.

Dominic Cummings is pictured leaving Downing Street 14 April
Image: Dominic Cummings is pictured leaving Downing Street on 14 April

In the latest allegations, he was reportedly spotted in Houghall Woods near his parents’ Durham home on 19 April.

And a week earlier, the papers said he was seen in Barnard Castle, 30 miles away from the city, during the period he was believed to be self-isolating.

Downing Street has branded the latest claims “false”.

A Number 10 statement issued on Saturday evening said: “Yesterday the Mirror and Guardian wrote inaccurate stories about Mr Cummings.

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“Today they are writing more inaccurate stories including claims that Mr Cummings returned to Durham after returning to work in Downing Street on 14 April. We will not waste our time answering a stream of false allegations about Mr Cummings from campaigning newspapers.”

Dominic Cummings leaving his house.
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Sometime in late March, Mr Cummings allegedly broke lockdown rules when he travelled from London to Durham with his wife and son to stay near his elderly parents – after his spouse had coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Cummings said he went to the North East so he would have help from relatives to care for his four-year-old son if he also became unwell. On 30 March, Number 10 said Mr Cummings showed COVID-19 signs.

A Downing Street spokesman said on Saturday: “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.”

Mr Cummings has insisted he “behaved reasonably and legally” when asked by reporters this weekend why he thought it was reasonable to make the trip.

Durham police confirmed on Friday they spoke to the owners of a property on 31 March, a week after the prime minister imposed the lockdown.

But Downing Street said nobody related to Mr Cummings was spoken to by police, and it was entirely right for him to seek childcare for his four-year-old son.

On Saturday evening, Durham police confirmed officers had spoken to Mr Cummings’ father during the lockdown period.

In a statement, the force said: “On Tuesday, 31 March, our officers were made aware that Dominic Cummings had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Chief Adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, listens during a press conferenceon the government's coronavirus action plan at Downing Street on March 3, 2020 in London, England. Johnson is announcing plans for combating the spread of the new COVID-19 coronavirus in the UK. (Photo by Frank Augstein-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
MPs respond to Cummings lockdown breach

“At the request of Mr Cummings’ father, an officer made contact the following morning by telephone.

“During that conversation, Mr Cummings’ father confirmed that his son had travelled with his family from London to the North-East and was self-isolating in part of the property.

“Durham Constabulary deemed that no further action was required. However, the officer did provide advice in relation to security issues.”

A Labour source said of the fresh allegations: “If these latest revelations are true, why on earth were Cabinet ministers sent out this afternoon to defend Dominic Cummings?

“We need an urgent investigation by the Cabinet Secretary to get to the bottom of this matter.

“It cannot be right that there is one rule for the prime minister’s adviser and another for the British people.”

Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey urged the prime minister to sack Mr Cummings.

During a briefing on Saturday afternoon, prior to the second visit allegations, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated Mr Cummings had the “full support” of the PM.

Asked to clarify guidance about travelling during lockdown, deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said it was “clear” someone with symptoms should self-isolate along with their family.

Dr Harries said if there was a “safeguarding issue” where a child had “no support”, that was also an issue.

“There’s always a safeguarding clause in all of the advice,” she said, adding: “The interpretation of that advice is probably for others.”

On Saturday morning, senior members of government had voiced their support for Mr Cummings, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

On Monday, Mr Johnson will hold a cabinet meeting to discuss ways to slowly end lockdown restrictions for certain sectors.

And the track and test system is set to be launched at the end of the week.

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A timeline of Dominic Cummings during lockdown:

18 March: At his Downing Street briefing the PM said: “Children should not be left with older grandparents, or older relatives, who may be particularly vulnerable or fall into some of the vulnerable groups.”

22 March: Government advice is that people must remain in their primary residence and not travel to their second homes: “Leaving your home – the place you live – to stay at another home is not allowed.”

23 March: Strict lockdown rules are imposed which mean people can only leave their houses for essential travel.

27 March: Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock are confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus. Mr Cummings is seen running along Downing Street.

Dominic Cummings seen running from the door of number 10 Downing Street
Mr Cummings is seen running from No 10

Weekend of 28 and 29 March: Over this weekend, Mr Cummings developed coronavirus symptoms, Downing Street later confirmed.

31 March: Mr Cummings travelled to his family’s farm in Durham – and it was on this date that Mr Cummings’ family were spoken to by police.

10 April: Deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said being too ill to look after a small child was an “exceptional circumstance” and she pointed to accessing family support, among other options.

12 April: Mr Cummings was seen in Barnard Castle, 30 miles from his parents’ Durham home, according to reports.

14 April: Mr Cummings is pictured in Downing Street after recovering from coronavirus.

19 April: He was allegedly seen in Durham after apparently returning there, according to reports.

25 April: In a Spectator column, Mr Cummings’ wife, Mary Wakefield, detailed his illness.

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