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An investigation conducted by Durham Police has concluded that Boris Johnson’s senior advisor Dominic Cummings did breach the government’s lockdown rules in his trip to Barnard Castle.

In an official statement, Durham Police concluded that Mr Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle was a breach of the regulations that “would have warranted police intervention” at the time.

Durham Police say that whilst they did not consider Mr Cummings’ journey from London to Durham as having breached lockdown rules, they had “examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle” and found that it would have required them to excercise their powers under the government’s Coronavirus legislation.

The statement went on to state that:

“Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham.

Many of the government’s supporters have pointed to the fact that Durham Police’s statement says that Mr Cummings “might” have breached the rules – but this phrasing, whilst seeming important, is actually not significant.

As legal legend, The Secret Barrister, explains on Twitter:

“Lots of excitement about “might”.

The reason for this is that the police don’t determine breaches; they form an opinion. If that opinion is disputed, a court will decide.

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In this context, “might” means the police concluded it *was*. Hence they say they would have sent him back.”

Indeed, this interpretation is also backed up by legal writer David Allen Green, who posted an in-depth Twitter thread explaining exactly why it is not significant:

The Prime Minister, numerous Cabinet Ministers, and even the Attorney General had previously defended Cummings’ actions as “legal” and “responsible“.

The Secret Barrister says that the Attorney General Suella Braverman should now resign for defending Mr Cummings’ behaviour:

Despite the findings of Durham Police that they consider Mr Cummings to have breached the rules, Downing Street immediately responded by stating that Mr Cummings would still not be sacked and the government consider “the issue as closed“, stating:

“The police have made clear they are taking no action against Mr Cummings over his self-isolation and that going to Durham did not breach the regulations. The PM has said he believes Cummings behaved reasonably and legally and he regards issue as closed.”

However, whilst their statement addresses Mr Cummings’ trip from London to Durham, Downing Street refused to address Durham Police’s findings that Mr Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle breached the rules.

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