DOMINIC CUMMINGS, the Prime Minister’s leading advisor, is a man who has made his name by being able to tap into the feelings of the ordinary person. In 2004, he articulated the feeling that this region didn’t need another tier of local politicians and so we voted against a regional assembly; in 2016, he gave a voice to those who felt the European Union was just too distant and overweening and so the nation voted to leave.

Surely, then, he must understand the feeling that it is unfair that some people can breach planning regulations and so not gain tax liabilities while most people have to churn through procedures and processes, even to get a tree loped.

The feelings engendered by his trip to County Durham damaged the Government’s “we are all in this together” message at the start of the pandemic, and now this continual dragging out of the story is hurting the Government’s reputation in the newly-won seats of the old “red wall”.

It is good politics for the Labour-controlled county council to take a stand against the Conservative advisor. It would also be good politics for the advisor to take the heat out of the story by acknowledging the perceived unfairness and making a conciliatory gesture.