Thank you for your recent email to my office. Please accept my apologies for the brief delay in responding as I have now returned following a short period of leave and rest after what has been a very busy three months volunteering extra hours to the NHS in my capacity as a doctor and also helping many people in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich with problems and queries relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With reference to your email on the subject of Dominic Cummings, in the first instance, I would like to draw your attention to the full statement issued by Durham Constabulary on 28th May 2020, which I hope you will find helpful:
“On 27 March 2020, Dominic Cummings drove to Durham to self-isolate in a property owned by his father.
“Durham Constabulary does not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises, Mr Cummings committed an offence contrary to regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. (We are concerned here with breaches of the Regulations, not the general Government guidance to “stay at home”.)
“On 12 April 2020, Mr Cummings drove approximately 26 miles from his father’s property to Barnard Castle with his wife and son. He stated on 25 May 2020 that the purpose of this drive was to test his resilience to drive to London the following day, including whether his eyesight was sufficiently recovered, his period of self-isolation having ended.
“Durham Constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle (including ANPR, witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on 25 May 2020) and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the Regulations that would have warranted police intervention. Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing.
“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, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis. Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.
“In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public. Durham Constabulary has not taken retrospective action against any other person.
“By way of further context, Durham Constabulary has followed Government guidance on management of alleged breaches of the regulations with the emphasis on the NPCC and College of Policing 4Es: Engage, Explain and Encourage before Enforcement.
“Finally, commentary in the media has suggested that Mr Cummings was in Durham on 19 April 2020. Mr Cummings denies this and Durham Constabulary have seen insufficient evidence to support this allegation. Therefore Durham Constabulary will take no further action in this matter and has informed Mr Cummings of this decision.”
I can fully understand why you have been upset by this issue, particularly in view of the early media coverage, but since the story first broke, Durham Police has carried out a full and detailed independent investigation of the alleged events that I have detailed above which I believe to be satisfactory.
Usually, I am happy to engage in ongoing correspondence, but given the outcome of the Police investigation, there is little more that I can usefully add, so I hope you will understand that this will be my only email on this issue.
I hope this reply is helpful and wish you well in these challenging times.
With best wishes.
Dr Daniel Poulter MP Llb (hons), MBBS, AKC, MRCPsych Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Much more disappointing than last season for me, with raised expectations and a brilliant start.
How it came to this I'll never know, it always felt like we kept forgoing chances to carry on momentum both with the chopping and changing of teams and the decision to postpone games when we would barely have been weakened. We seemed to outsmart ourselves.
I think generally, player for player, we got the recruitment pretty right in the summer - none have blown us away but I think in relation to Holy, Norwood, Vincent-Young and Wilson we can be quite happy with our business. On the loan side Garbutt proved to be a good addition but Norris seemed unnecessary at the time and proved to give us more questions than answers.
But the squad, when you see the make up of it seemed to be build for a 433, whereas we ended up playing 442 and 352. We only had 2 fit strikers and 3 fit centre backs until November or so in reality so seemed a strange way to go about things.
Things looked so rosy when we beat Fleetwood in October, but an international break, and then 2 league games and 6 cup games over a 6/7 week period just killed us.
I've been heavily critical of the manager, and it seemed as though after some harsh words at Lincoln the players got their point across and followed it up with an unchanged team and a decent run of performances and results. But as soon as we came up against well organised teams we just looked second best - no patterns of play, no familiarity in the line up and easy to play against.
For me a change of management is a must, we have largely the same squad of players under contract next season and whoever the manager is is going to have to get a tune out of them. Losing KVY and having Norwood not fully fit has cost us as well, but we will look back at this season as a massive missed opportunity, and with this pandemic here it may prove to be the biggest missed opportunity for a long time. Next season will start behind closed doors, almost certainly, and money will be tight and we've already committed to spending.