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Who are Dominic Cumming’s parents? – The Sun

DOMINIC Cummings is Boris Johnson's senior adviser who was recently called out for travelling 260 miles from London to Durham amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The aide claimed he was staying with his parents for help with childcare. So who are his parents and have they said anything to defend their son?

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Who are Dominic Cumming's parents?

Robert Cummings worked as an oil rig project manager and built oil rigs for construction firm, Laing.

He also ran a canoe paddle factory and now works on the family farm.

His mother, Morag, worked as a special needs teacher and a behavioural specialist.

The couple, now in their seventies, live on the family farm in Durham.

Sir John Grant McKenzie Laws, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, was also Dominic Cummings' uncle.

What did he do?

Cummings has been accused of being in breach of the coronavirus rules, by making non essential travel and leaving his London home.

He and his wife, journalist Mary Wakefield, reportedly stayed at his parents' home in Durham while self-isolating.

It is a 260 mile trip between the homes.

However, the couple have said they needed childcare help and said they stayed in a separate building at the property.

In an official statement from Downing Street, the Prime Minister has given his backing to the aide.

A No10 spokesperson said: "Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.

"His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed.

"His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside.

"His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines.

"Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally."

The revelation comes despite No10 telling Brits they must stay at home and not see family to slow the spread of Covid.

The move allegedly went against advice, which became law on March 26, which stated: “You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home.”

Only in exceptional circumstances were people allowed to attend relatives' addresses; for example, to drop off food or medicine to their door.

Tory MPs are said to be privately angry, but a close friend of Dominic Cummings said: "He isn't remotely bothered by this story…

"…There is zero chance of him resigning."

Acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey today called for Mr Cummings to explain himself – or resign.

He said: "If Dominic Cummings has broken the lockdown guidelines, he will have to resign. It's as simple as that."

Who is Dominic Cummings?

Dominic Cummings was seen as the mastermind of the Brexit campaign.

He is a political adviser and strategist, and served as the Campaign Director of Vote Leave.

Cummings is a former special adviser to Michael Gove – under Boris Johnson, he worked as the PM's senior adviser.

Born in Durham, he attended Durham School and Exeter College, Oxford, graduating in 1994 with a First in Ancient and Modern History.

In 2011, he married Mary Wakefield, deputy editor of The Spectator.

Cummings became Campaign Director of Vote Leave upon the creation of the organisation in October 2015.

He is credited with having created the official slogan of Vote Leave, "Take back control" and with being the leading strategist of the campaign.

Cummings was questioned and criticised by MPs at the Treasury Select Committee in April 2016 for creating misleading leaflets for the Leave campaign.

His campaign strategy was summarised as: "Don’t talk about immigration"; "Do talk about business"; "Don’t make the referendum final"; "Do keep mentioning the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the over-reach of the European Union’s Court of Justice".

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No10 chief Dominic Cummings 'intervened at SAGE meeting'

No10 chief Dominic Cummings ‘intervened at SAGE meeting to push for experts to back lockdown’

  • Dominic Cummings ‘was more than a bystander at a meeting of SAGE experts’
  • Claims the PM’s top aide pushed scientists to back imposing lockdown sooner
  • No10 has hit back at claims and said all advice provided by SAGE is impartial 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street this morning

Dominic Cummings played ‘more than a bystander’s role’ at a meeting of the government’s scientific experts and pushed for lockdown to be imposed sooner, it was claimed today. 

The Prime Minister’s top aide has been at the centre of a political storm after it emerged last week he had attended meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies which provides the government with advice on which decisions are then made.  

Downing Street confirmed Mr Cummings had listened in on meetings and ‘occasionally’ asked questions. 

But it was alleged today that Mr Cummings ‘clearly wasn’t an observer’ during coronavirus meetings and that he had played a role in shaping the discussion of the government’s advisers. 

However, Number 10 has hit back at the claims and said it is ‘completely wrong to imply’ that scientists’ advice ‘is in any way not impartial’.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis the government has insisted all of its decisions have been based on the independent advice provided by SAGE. 

But Mr Cummings’ involvement in the group’s meetings has been seized on by critics who are now questioning how independent and impartial the advice given to ministers is. 

It was claimed today that the PM’s top aide ‘wasn’t an observer’ at a meeting of the government’s scientific experts

Bloomberg today reported Mr Cummings had played ‘more than a bystander’s role’ at a meeting of SAGE On March 18 when social distancing measures were being discussed. 

Two separate sources familiar with the meeting said Mr Cummings had pressed for lockdown measures to be introduced more quickly. 

He allegedly asked scientists why lockdown was not being imposed sooner and steered the discussion in favour of faster action.

He also reportedly made clear he believed pubs and restaurants should close – something which did then happen. 

The two people spoken to by Bloomberg said Mr Cummings’ actions went beyond just asking questions, with one adding: ‘He clearly wasn’t an observer.’

Number 10 rejected the suggestion that Mr Cummings had influenced the advice given by SAGE. 

The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘SAGE provide independent scientific advice to government. No political advisers influence this advice. 

‘The scientists who contribute to SAGE are among the most eminent in their fields. It is completely wrong to imply their advice is in any way not impartial.’

The Guardian revealed on Friday that Mr Cummings had attended SAGE meetings. 

But a Number 10 spokesman said at the time ‘it is not true’ to say Mr Cummings was ‘on’ or a member of the group.

Number 10 said he attended some Sage meetings to listen to proceedings in order to ‘understand better the scientific debate concerning this emergency’.  

Some experts have suggested Mr Cummings’ role in the meetings could taint the advice SAGE has given to ministers so far. 

But others have rubbished such suggestions, insisting scientists would not be influenced by political advisers.

The government is under growing pressure to make the running of SAGE more transparent. 

Currently the membership of the group is kept secret, minutes of recent meetings have not been published and neither has the latest evidence on which recommendations have been made.    

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World News

Dominic Raab: The karate black belt with one year's Cabinet experience

Self-styled ‘tough guy’ and one-time boxing blue with just one year’s Cabinet experience: Ex-Foreign Office lawyer Dominic Raab is a relative new kid on the block – but is no stranger to controversy

  • Dominic Raab now de facto prime minister after Boris Johnson was hospitalised
  • Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State in Cabinet for just over one year 
  • Mr Raab had previously served as Brexit Secretary in Theresa May’s government 
  • He joined Tory leadership contest in 2019 but fell short and backed Mr Johnson
  • Ardent Brexiteer’s loyalty then rewarded by PM as he made him his number two
  • Mr Johnson’s stand in is a former Foreign Office lawyer and a black belt in karate 

Dominic Raab is now the UK’s de facto prime minister after Boris Johnson was hospitalised, with the running of the country placed in the hands of a man who has just one year of Cabinet experience. 

Mr Johnson has asked the Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State to deputise for him while he fights coronavirus in a London intensive care unit. 

The elevation of Mr Raab to the top political job in the country completes what has been a meteoric rise for the former Foreign Office lawyer, karate black belt and Oxford University boxing blue who is no stranger to controversy.      

Dominic Raab, pictured in Westminster today, is now the de facto prime minister after Boris Johnson was hospitalised with coronavirus

Mr Raab’s bulging muscles and athletic frame leap out of a photo taken during his days as an Oxford University boxing blue in 1995

Westminster was stunned last July when Mr Johnson became Prime Minister and chose to select Mr Raab, a self-styled Tory ‘tough guy’, as his future stand-in. 

Many were expecting the 46-year-old to be rewarded with a big job after he backed the PM in the Tory leadership contest having seen his own bid fall flat. 

But few had anticipated Mr Raab being awarded one of the four great offices of state while even fewer predicted he would be designated Mr Johnson’s deputy. 

However, the appointment made political sense for the new premier given Mr Raab’s hardline Brexit credentials.

Mr Raab was one of the most vocal supporters of the UK leaving the EU and his appointment to the highest echelons of government reassured Eurosceptic Tory MPs that the PM was not going to go soft on Brussels after winning power. 

Becoming Foreign Secretary represented a massive step up for Mr Raab in terms of government responsibility having only held one Cabinet role prior to his major promotion. 

Mr Raab, first elected as the Conservative MP for Esher and Walton in 2010, had to wait five years before getting a proper ministerial job. 

And after slowly climbing the Whitehall ladder he finally broke into the Cabinet in July 2018 after receiving the call from Theresa May to be her new Brexit Secretary following the resignation of David Davis. 

However, he would only last until November of the same year as he also quit in protest at the then-PM’s Brexit plans – just like his predecessor.  

Having entered the Tory leadership contest in late May 2019, he was quickly eliminated but swiftly announced he was supporting Mr Johnson’s candidacy. 

He was then subsequently appointed Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State on July 24, 2019. 

That means that as of today, Mr Raab has just over one year of Cabinet experience under his belt – eight months in Mr Johnson’s administration and five in Mrs May’s. 

The designation of Mr Raab as Mr Johnson’s deputy has not been without controversy with some ministers unhappy at the prospect of the Foreign Office chief being put in charge. 

Some members of the government had recently been pushing for Michael Gove, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, to be given the responsibility.     

Mr Raab, pictured with his wife Erika in June 2019 during his Tory leadership run, was first elected as an MP in 2010 

Mr Raab, pictured alongside Mr Johnson in the House of Commons in December last year, will now be tasked with overseeing the UK’s coronavirus response

One minister said a few weeks ago that ‘a lot of people think that Michael should be running the show’ if Mr Johnson became incapacitated and that ‘one of these people is Michael, of course’. 

But Downing Street has been clear for weeks that Mr Raab would take over if the situation demanded it.

Mr Raab has dealt with a number of political controversies since becoming an MP and later a Cabinet minister.  

Upon being appointed Foreign Secretary, Mr Raab was soon thrust into handling the Transatlantic fall-out over the death of British teenager Harry Dunn, who was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.

The fact Mr Dunn’s parents tried to heckle Mr Raab at a constituency hustings event was indicative of how well the family felt he dealt with obtaining justice for their son as the government tried and failed to persuade the US to extradite the teenager’s alleged killer.

Mr Raab also had to manage the thorny issue of repatriating children of British jihadis.   

Early on in his parliamentary career Mr Raab sparked a furious row after he wrote an article in which he argued ‘feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots’.

He refused to apologise and stuck by his comments, defending them last year when he was challenged on them during the Tory leadership battle. 

He said he stood by what he had said because he believed it is ‘really important that in the debate on equality we have a consistency and not double standards and hypocrisy’.

Mr Raab, who is married to a Brazilian called Erika who he has two children with, has also said he is ‘probably not’ a feminist, sparking a further backlash. 

He found himself again at the centre of a storm of controversy in May 2017 after claiming that people who use food banks are not typically in poverty but have an occasional ‘cashflow problem’.

The Foreign Secretary first made it to the Cabinet in 2018 when he was appointed Brexit Secretary. He is pictured with Michel Barnier in Brussels in August of that year

Critics labelled the remarks ‘stupid and deeply offensive’. 

He also got into hot water last year after he said he would keep open the option of suspending Parliament in order to prevent MPs blocking Brexit.

His past comments, and his hardline stance on Brexit, have not endeared Mr Raab to his political opponents. 

At the 2019 general election he was relentlessly targeted by the Liberal Democrats in his Surrey constituency and came relatively close to being ousted. 

He had previously held the seat with majorities of more than 20,000 votes but in December he held on with a majority of just under 3,000 as the Lib Dems surged, capitalising on the pro-Remain vote. 

Mr Raab has sought to create something of a ‘hard man’ image in Westminster, with his website boasting that he ‘holds a black belt 3rd dan in karate and is a former UK Southern Regions champion and British squad member’. 

He captained the karate club at Oxford University where he studied law and was also a boxing blue as a member of the institution’s famous amateur boxing club. 

Mr Raab is clearly proud of his time as a university boxer, having previously handed a picture of him in his shorts and vest to a TV company to use for their profile of him. 

He still trains at a boxing club in Thames Ditton and has a poster of Muhammad Ali in his Commons office.

In 2006, he was appointed chief of staff to fellow Tory Mr Davis. The former Special Forces reservist said Mr Raab’s karate black belt impressed him more than his two Oxbridge degrees –  the second came in a form of a Masters from Cambridge.   

Mr Raab said karate helped him cope with the premature death of his father, who had fled to the UK from Czechoslovakia at the age of six in 1938 to escape the Nazis. 

Mr Raab was just 12 when his father died. ‘Sport helped restore my confidence, and that hugely benefited my attitude to school and life,’ he said in May last year.

‘There were strong role models, camaraderie and an ethos of respect. I take the discipline and focus I learnt from sport into my professional life – and I believe that approach is vital to making a success of the Brexit negotiations and delivering a fairer deal from Brussels.’

Despite his karate black belt, Mr Raab is known for his courtesy and was upset when civil servants who worked for him as Brexit Secretary anonymously described him as a bully.

Mr Raab, who previously worked at the Foreign Office as a lawyer, denied claims, made by his former diary secretary, that he insisted on the same Pret a Manger lunch every day.

The ‘Dom Raab special’ apparently consists of a chicken Caesar and bacon baguette, superfruit pot and a vitamin volcano smoothie.    

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World News

Dominic Raab to step up and lead coronavirus fight while PM is sick in hospital

DOMINIC Raab has stepped up to lead the Government's Covid-19 meeting today after Boris Johnson was admitted to hopsital last night.

The Foreign Secretary is the First Secretary of State and second-in-line to take over if the PM becomes too ill to.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

He chaired the daily coronavirus meeting and updated the rest of the Cabinet on the PM's health, and the nation's efforts to combat the disease.

Michael Gove and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are also next in line for the PM to delegate to if he's too sick.

Boris last night was taken in to a London hospital for tests after "persistent symptoms" of the virus failed to go away.

Anyone who doesn't get better after a week is at increased risk, experts say.

The PM, 55, was admitted 10 days after testing positive for the virus – and stayed the night there.

The Times said today he was given oxygen treatment after arriving there by car.

No10 stressed it was not an emergency trip and was a planned visit on advice from his doctor.

The admission was a “precautionary step” as he continued to have “persistent symptoms”, thought to be a high temperature.

The move comes after aides became increasingly worried about his health as Mr Johnson continued to show symptoms more than a week after he tested positive.

Government aides said Boris had been “coughing and spluttering” on video conference calls over the past few days.

Most people manage to shake off their symptoms after a week, with doctors saying patients are at risk of developing pneumonia if a temperature persists.

Last night a Downing Street spokesman said: “On the advice of his doctor, the Prime Minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests.

“This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus.

“The Prime Minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Ministers today urged Boris to oficially step down from leading the charge today and focus on getting better.

James Duddridge MP said: "Take care boss. Get well. Come back fighting. But for now rest, look after yourself and let the others do the heavy lift."

“This may be the jolt, the wake-up call that he realises he has to rest to recover,”one Cabinet minister told the Financial Times.

“He will have been very reluctant to go to hospital.”

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