A BRIGHTON vicar has pushed health secretary Matt Hancock to look into reviewing penalty fines for families who breached coronavirus lockdown rules to get childcare.

At the Downing Street daily briefing, Reverend Martin Poole of St Luke’s Prestonville asked whether the Government would cancel the penalties.

His question comes after the Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings said he had “no regrets” about a 260-mile trip from London to Durham early on during the restrictions.

Mr Cummings said he, his wife and their son had made the journey to be near relatives for childcare.

The Argus: Dominic Cummings

He insisted he was behaving “reasonably,” even though the Government’s advice to the public at the time was to stay home to save lives.

There has been uproar over Mr Cummings’ actions, and people have asked why others were not been able to do the same.

Reverend Poole of St Luke’s Prestonville asked: “Will the Government review all penalty fines imposed on families travelling for childcare purposes during lockdown?”

Matt Hancock responded: “We do understand the impact and the need for making sure that children get adequate childcare – that is one of the significant concerns we’ve had all the way through this.

“So I think especially coming from a man of the cloth it is perfectly reasonable to take away that question.

"I’ll have to talk to my treasury colleagues before I can answer it in full and we’ll look at it and if we can have your details we’ll make sure we write to you with a full answer and make an announcement from this podium.

"I think we can make that commitment.”

Yesterday, the reverend tweeted: “Dominic Cummings began his story when Boris told him he’d been tested positive for Covid.

“That means he was supposed to quarantine himself for 14 days, that was the rule.”

The Argus:

Last year, The Argus spoke with the vicar about pigeon-proofing an excrement-coated bridge in Brighton.

The railway bridge in New England Road, near Reverend Poole’s church, had been dubbed “Pigeon Poo Bridge” by residents.

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund