Boris Johnson is standing by his chief aide Dominic Cummings despite the police saying they would have taken action if they had stopped him on his journey to Barnard Castle.
Amid mounting anger and plummeting poll ratings, Downing Street said the British Prime Minister “regards this issue as closed” after Durham Constabulary said it did not intend to take “retrospective action”.
The police found that Mr Cummings may have committed “a minor breach” of coronavirus lockdown rules when he drove the 50-mile round trip to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight after it was affected by Covid-19.
However, the force said that had a police officer stopped the aide they would have “likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis”.
Responding to the statement, a Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed.”
But opposition MPs said the fact police believe Mr Cummings may have breached the rules showed that members of the public were right to be outraged at his behaviour.
Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones tweeted: “Durham Police just confirming what we all already knew. Cummings broke the rules whilst we were dutifully obeying for the common good.
“He broke the rules he helped write. Actions have consequences. Your move Prime Minister.”