Labour have called for an urgent inquiry after the prime minister’s chief adviser apparently flouted lockdown rules.

Labour has written to the head of the civil service, Sir Mark Sedwill, to ask him to investigate a 260-mile trip taken by Dominic Cummings.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said: “The British people have made important and painful sacrifices to support the national effort, including being away from family in times of need.

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“It is therefore vital that the Government can reassure the public that its most senior figures have been adhering to the same rules as everyone else.”

Labour said that No 10’s explanations of Mr Cummings’s behaviour had “raised more questions than they answer”, including when the prime minister was made aware of his aide’s decision to travel from London to Durham during lockdown.

The letter adds: “The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for the Prime Minister’s most senior adviser.”

The SNP have also written to Sir Mark to call for an investigation into the matter.

Asked earlier if he would consider his position, Mr Cummings told reporters: “Obviously not.”

“You guys are probably all about as right about that as you were about Brexit: do you remember how right you all were about that?”

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said Mr Cummings had Mr Johnson’s ‘full support’.

But he dodged questions about when the prime minister was made aware his most senior aide had travelled from London to be close to his family in county Durham.

No 10 have said Mr Cumming’s visit was “essential” and “in line” with the guidelines.

Defending Mr Cummings, a No 10 spokesman 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. At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported. His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.”

Members of the cabinet also defended Mr Cummings.

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Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, tweeted: “Taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable, trying to score political points over it isn’t.”

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