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No review of lockdown fines

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Written by: Emma Lunn
27/05/2020
The Government has backtracked on its suggestion that it would review fines issued to families who broke lockdown rules.

Two national newspapers reported at the weekend that Government adviser Dominic Cummings had driven his wife Mary Wakefield and the couple’s child from London to Durham after lockdown rules were imposed in March.

There have been repeated calls for Cummings’ resignation after the news broke, with critics saying the journey was in clear breach of UK lockdown rules and the “stay at home” instruction.

Cummings later said he made the journey due to childcare reasons, fearing both he and Wakefield would later become “incapacitated” and unable to care for their four-year-old son.

Thousands of families around the country found themselves in similar situations but the majority self-isolated at home, as per the Government instructions, rather than visiting family.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is standing by Cummings, refusing to sack him. Johnson is now suggesting Brits “move on” from the matter.

But yesterday at the daily coronavirus briefing a vicar questioned health secretary Matt Hancock about whether families fined for making similar journeys would have their fines reviewed.

Hancock said he’d “look at it” but sources at Sky News now say there are  no plans for a review of the fines handed out.

The U-turn is further embarrassment for the Government which is facing allegations that the public are expected to live by one set of rules, and “the elite” another.

Government rules stipulate that people should only leave their homes for one exercise session a day, to get food or medicine, to get medical care, or to go to work.

Members of the public who break the rules could end up saddled with a £60 fine and potentially another for £120 for a second offense, with the penalty doubling for additional breaches.

Government minister Douglas Ross has resigned over Cummings’s lockdown trips and dozens of Conservative MPs have publicly called for Cummings’s resignation.

The PM’s senior adviser gave a statement on Monday on his reasons for travelling to his parents’ property while the lockdown was in force, saying he did not regret his actions and that he had not considered resigning.

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