Grant Shapps dodges question on whether PM knew about Dominic Cummings' lockdown trip to Durham

Boris Johnson was 'pretty ill' when his top advisor made controversial trip

Grant Shapps dodges question on whether PM knew about Dominic Cummings' lockdown trip to Durham

A cabinet minister has said Boris Johnson was “pretty ill” when Dominic Cummings took a 250-mile trip during lockdown, as he dodged questions about what the prime minister knew and when.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday morning that he did not think the journey would have been “high on (his) agenda”.

"You'll probably remember, the prime minister during exactly the same period was pretty ill and, in fact, eventually in hospital in ICU, so I don't think this would have been high on the prime minister's agenda," he said.

He categorically denied Mr Cummings went back to Durham after returning to London in mid-April.

But he failed to rule out that Mr Cummings may have made a sightseeing trip 30 miles from his family’s home on Easter Sunday.

When pressed about whether or not the prime minister knew of Mr Cummings' journey, Mr Shapps responded: "You'll have to forgive me, Sophy, I don't actually know whether the prime minister tracks every single move of Dominic Cummings. I think he knew that Dominic Cummings was ill and was self-isolating, which was exactly what he was doing with his wife and his child.

"I don't have all the times and dates for you but I understand he will have travelled up there towards the end of March and stayed there, remained there for 14 days, didn't leave the property and isolation, as per the rules and guidance.

On the question of whether the family will have stopped en route to Durham, Shapps said he did not know but he was sure Cummings "took all the necessary precautions."

"You'll appreciate I wasn't with them so I can't tell you exactly what that journey was like, but what I do know is that Dominic Cummings – I saw a clip yesterday of him asking journalists to be spaced two metres apart, so I know he is a stickler for those rules about what to do to make sure you are following the two-metre rule and the like, so I'm sure that they took all the necessary precautions," he added.

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