SENIOR members of Durham County Council have spoken out over the row about Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings travelling to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.

Labour councillor Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said in a statement: “Residents of County Durham who have been observing national Government rules for many weeks are shocked to hear reports that a senior Government figure travelled to Durham from London with coronavirus symptoms.

“This breach of the rule on self-isolation came at a time when the rate of infection was far higher in central London than in Durham.

“The public health guidance has been very clear and must apply to everyone if our communities are to be protected from this terrible virus.”

And fellow Labour councillor Lucy Hovvels, portfolio holder for adult and health services, said: “If these reports are true, then the Prime Minister’s chief adviser must be dismissed for arrogantly and flagrantly flouting the rules he played such a key role in devising.

The Northern Echo: CHARGES: Councillor Lucy Hovvels

“The hypocrisy of Dominic Cummings to think he is above his own Government’s guidance is staggering. While the vast majority of our residents in County Durham have made such extraordinary and heart-breaking sacrifices during this pandemic, a senior Government adviser has driven the length of the country, displaying coronavirus symptoms, to swan back to his parents’ house.

“Our communities will be appalled and will rightly expect us to condemn these irresponsible actions, which are an insult to the people who have lost their lives across our county. If the Government does not take immediate action against Cummings, it sends a message that there is one set of rules for those who make them and another for the people of the UK.”