The parents of Dominic Cummings have defended their son’s reported breach of the coronavirus lockdown, saying it coincided with the death of his uncle.
The prime minister’s senior adviser is under increasing pressure to resign after taking a 260-mile trip from London to his parents in Durham during the restrictions.
Cummings is set to give a press conference on Monday afternoon as questions remain over his actions.
On Sunday, Boris Johnson backed his chief aide, saying he had “acted responsibly and with integrity”, apparently because he feared he and his wife would be left unable to care for their son because of COVID-19 symptoms.
In an interview with the New Statesman, his parents, Morag and Robert, also backed their son.
She said the family had been grieving after her brother – Lord Justice Laws – died on 5 April after contracting COVID-19 while ill in hospital.
She said: "I have no other comment to make other than to say that my brother died on Palm Sunday, and the press has not been cognisant of that fact, either from Dominic's point of view or from mine."
The day his uncle died and Johnson was admitted to hospital for his coronavirus symptoms, an unnamed neighbour told the Daily Mirror and The Guardian they saw Cummings in the garden of his parents' home as Abba's Dancing Queen was playing loudly.
“You know, we have been a grieving family,” his mother said.
“And there’s been no recognition of that, and I wish reporters would be cognisant of that fact.”
His father said he was "disgusted" at the media treatment of his son.
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Cummings travelled to County Durham in March to self-isolate with his family, but further reports suggest he took a second trip to the North East in April, having already returned to London following his recovery from COVID-19.
Several Conservative backbenchers have joined calls from opposition parties for Cummings to quit or be sacked, amid warnings that his actions have "undermined" efforts to fight coronavirus.
It comes as Durham's acting police and crime commissioner Steve White said there was a "plethora" of additional information that deserved "appropriate examination".
He said he has written to Durham police's chief constable asking her to "establish the facts concerning any potential breach of the law or regulations in this matter".
A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: "We can confirm that, over the last few days, Durham Constabulary has received further information and complaints from members of the public and we are reviewing and examining that information."
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