Lea Michele Is Sorry For How Her Behavior Was "Perceived" By ‘Glee’ Co-Stars

Following accusations of mistreatment from former co-workers, Lea Michele apologized to her Glee co-stars for her reported on-set behavior in a statement posted to her Instagram on Wednesday, June 3. Her response comes two days after co-star Samantha Marie Ware accused Michele of using racial microagressions to make the set of the beloved Fox show "a living hell." Ware posted her experiences on Twitter in response to Michele’s tweet condemning the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin, in which she used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

In her statement, Michele explained that her tweet was meant to be a "show of support" for people of color, but the responses that she got made her reflect on "how my own behavior towards fellow cast members was perceived by them." Michele also alluded to Ware’s accusation that the actor told people that she "would sh*t in my wig," saying that she didn’t remember "making this specific statement," but conceded that it’s "not really the point."

"What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people," she wrote. "Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused."

Michele didn’t address any of the specific allegations against her, nor did she address any specific former co-stars by name. Following Ware’s tweet on Monday, several of Michele’s Glee co-stars showed support for Ware online, including Alex Newell, who responded directly. Amber Riley also shared GIF reactions on Twitter, including one of her sipping tea, while Melissa Benoist reportedly liked tweets about Michele’s alleged behavior. None of her co-stars have responded to her apology, but PEOPLE reported that Michele has reached out and spoken to a few of them in private since Monday, without giving names.

Michele’s apology is already disappointing some fans who think she’s missed the point entirely, with many calling it a "non-apologetic" apology.

Specifically, people are disappointed that the actor failed to own up to any mistakes, instead saying that she wanted to talk about "how my own behavior towards fellow cast members was perceived by them."

Michele concluded her statement by promising to improve her behavior in the future, especially in light of her pregnancy, which she announced in April. "I know I need to keep working to better myself and take responsibility for my actions, so that I can be a real role model for my child," she wrote. How she will be taking responsibility, and what actions she might take to actually do better, remain to be seen.

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Jackie Robinson is the hero baseball — and this country — needs right now: Sherman

The other day, speaking to a veteran player representative, I emphasized that I try not to be naive, try not to be corny, but that I thought baseball needed a hero right now. Someone who both players and owners trusted to broker a resolution. Someone who could make them see a bigger picture of what was good for the game.

And I told the representative, sadly, that I did not see that person within the game, in politics, in business.

But watching the unrest in the country brought a recognition that I was shooting too low with my bigger picture — what was good for the game. This is no time to be myopic. Not when coronavirus has killed more than 100,000, disproportionately raining death on African-Americans. Not when a police officer in 2020 can still drop his knee into another man’s neck draining George Floyd’s life while three other officers look on and we have to wonder if justice will prevail.

The hero we need is Jackie Robinson, and baseball — owners, players, representatives, executives — must embrace the most important person in its history not just to solve its squabble, but to again be an agent of change for the nation.

There is so much wrong with our game — our national pastime — but breaking the color line in 1947 is a triumph. There were people on the wrong side of that issue then and history exposed their irrational hatred and fear and stupidity. History will do the same to anyone now trying to find some other-siderism to how brutally we police, incarcerate and treat people of color in this country.

Consider that if we watched a police officer in France or Russia or Brazil put his knee into an American citizen’s neck on their soil and kill him while three of his comrades looked on, we collectively as a nation would be ready to go to war with that country. Especially if such abuses had taken place over and over for centuries. Especially if we appreciated that if this one was caught on camera, how many of these atrocities are not? So how is there not 100-percent cohesion in the United States that this MUST STOP?

It is not going to end without people of influence making relentless demands until real change happens. It is not going to stop without real money backing the best of our angels against devils who would mislead, misdirect and find justification in brutalizing our own citizens.

So this is where MLB comes in. This is where Jackie Robinson’s legacy should matter.

How about the owners and players — in Robinson’s name — agree to something along the lines of the following: That the players will play for 50 percent of their prorated salaries this year and that the other 50 percent will be donated jointly from the two sides to mutually agreed upon organizations that fight for equality, that support the most vulnerable in our society, that need dollars earmarked specifically for them in the areas of health and science.

This is hundreds of millions of dollars. Do it over 10 years so if owners are really having short-term cash flow issues it does not get in the way of the long-term good. Do it in the name and lingering importance and values of Jackie Robinson.

Who says no to this?

Maybe MLB can’t play anyway in 2020 because the coronavirus ultimately will not allow it — everyone should be concerned that the sardine-jammed protests will foster new waves and that two Japanese baseball players tested positive already and that there has been a new Ebola outbreak in the Congo.

But MLB is not at an impasse because of the virus. The two sides can find common ground on safety measures to at least try to play. This is about money. So put the disputed money to better use and rise to a better place together.

There is much imperfect with baseball, including poor representation of people of color in roles from manager to owner. But what Robinson withstood in threat and hatred has produced on the field as close to meritocracy as we get in society. I would never say bias is 100-percent dead, but largely skin color, nation or origin; none of that matters much. If you can play, you can play and you do play.

MLB can showcase that. The sport could have its most prominent voices not only thanking our first responders and medical personnel that are risking so much during this pandemic, but we can see Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge and Hyun-jin Ryu and Masahiro Tanaka and Mike Trout kneeling in solidarity, offering words of unity and mostly showing how seamlessly people from so many different backgrounds can work together for a common good. You know, showing not only the best of our national pastime, but of our nation.

We need a hero to get there.

I offer the best hero not just in our game, but one of the most important in American history.

Jackie Robinson.

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor is rushed to A&E as she shares bloody and bruised snap after nasty bike accident – The Sun

SOPHIE Ellis-Bextor was rushed to A&E after suffering a nasty bike accident last night.

The 41-year-old star shared a shocking bloody and bruised snap from her hospital bed as she explained what had happened in the post's caption.

Sophie admitted that she used a black and white filter because the picture was otherwise "too gory" to share.

In the photo, the mother-of-three is wearing a hospital gown and face mask, with a bandage secured to a cut on her forehead with tape.

Sophie has painful-looking cuts and bruises around one eye, and is holding her left forearm up to show off more gashes and grazes.

The singer  thanked members of the public who helped her and her husband, Richard Jones, when they saw what had happened.

She wrote: "I ended up in A&E last night after I took a tumble from the tow path down to the side of the Thames on my bike during an evening cycle.

"I’ve put the photo in black and white so it’s not too gory. I am ok, just a bit bruised and sore.

"I want to thank the ambulance crew and the staff at West Mid hospital (where I was born, as it happens) for gluing me back together.

"I also want to thank Lucas, Colin, Josh and Willow who were four runners who stopped and helped @richardjonesface and I when I hurt myself.


"You were so calm, thoughtful and reassuring. Thank you very much. I hope you see this message as I didn’t get your details. You’re all lovely people."

Sophie's concerned followers flocked to the comment section to send their love and wish her a speedy recovery.

In recent months, the star and her family have been delighting fans with weekly, glitter-filled concerts from their stunning West London home.

While the brunette beauty has been in charge of the mic, her children have also been getting involved with she and Richard mum and dad to 16-year-old Sonny, 11-year-old Kit, eight-year-old Ray, four-year-old Jesse, and four-month-old Mickey.

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George Bush says ‘It is time for America to examine our tragic failures’ and backs peaceful George Floyd protests – The Sun

GEORGE Bush has said it is time for America to "examine our tragic failures" and called the protests that have gripped the nation over the past few days a "strength".

The former president released a lengthy statement a week after George Floyd died in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest.

Floyd's death, which have sparked protests across the world, and Bush called on Americans to listen to the "grieving" black community.

"It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future," he wrote in the statement published on Tuesday.

"This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society?

"We can only see the reality of America's need by seeing it through the eyes of the threatened, oppressed, and disenfranchised,” he continued.


Bush's comments come as the mother of Floyd's six-year-old daughter spoke to the press.

"He was a good man," said Roxie Washington, in a news conference in Minneapolis on Tuesday. "I'm here for my baby and I'm here for George because I want justice."

Floyd's daughter Gianna was standing by her mother, who choked back tears as she demanded justice for the 46-year-old, who died last week.

"I don't have a lot to say, I can't get the words together right now. I want everyone to know that this is what those officers took from me," she said, referencing their daughter.

"At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle.

"If there's a problem and she needs her dad, she does not have that anymore."


In his statement, Bush did not discuss President Trump's threat to deploy the National Guard to areas where protests were continuing, but added it was the country's responsibility to achieve "justice for all".

"We know that lasting justice will only come by peaceful means. Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress.

He added: "But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice.

"The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system. And achieving justice for all is the duty of all."

"There is a better way — the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice,” Bush concluded. “I am confident that together, Americans will choose the better way.”

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When is I Am Not Okay With This season 2 released on Netflix? – The Sun

I AM Not Okay With This, Netflix's sci-fi-comedy-thriller co-created by Jonathan Entwistle, director of The End of the F***ing World came out earlier this year.

The season finale's dramatic ending has left many desperate for a season two release date.

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Will there be a season two of I Am Not Okay With This on Netflix?

A second season of the popular show hasn't been confirmed yet by Netflix.

Unfortunately for fans, if a second season is confirmed, it will not arrive until next year.

What happened in season one of I Am Not Okay With This?

The seven-episode first season of Netflix's comedy I Am Not Okay With This tells the story of  17-year-old Sydney (Sophia Lillis) from Pennsylvania.

Her father committed suicide a year earlier, and Sydney is emotionally unstable.

In season one, we see Sydney discover she has telekinetic supernatural strengths. In moments of anger or stress, she explodes everything in her path.

This proves problematic when she is also negotiating feelings towards her best friend, Dina (Sofia Bryant) and her friendship with her neighbour, Stanley (Wyatt Oleff).

Meanwhile, Sydney is struggling to understand why she keeps seeing a mysterious figure following her.

In the season finale, Dina's ex-boyfriend steals Syd's diary and threatens to expose her powers, before she blows up his head in front of all her classmates.

The last thing we see is Sydney storming through the streets covered in blood.

What can we expect from season two?

It can be assumed that there will not be drastic changes to the cast in the second season, so we can expect to see some familiar faces:

  • Sophia Lillis as Sydney
  • Sofia Bryant as Dina
  • Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Barber
  • Kathleen Rose Perkins as Maggie
  • Aidan Wojtak-Hissong as Liam

However, it is safe to say we may not be seeing Brad, played by Richard Ellis in the second season. At the end of season one, Syd blows up his head after Brad reveals her secrets.

The series is based on a graphic novel by Charles Forsman, but the show has strayed away from its plotline, giving away no hints as to what a second series has in store.

The main mystery left unsolved is the identity of the smoky figure that Syd keeps seeing throughout the first series, and so season two may focus on this issue.

Entwhistle discussed the mysterious smoke man's identity and  interview with Decider: "The questions I want people to ask are who has come to town? Is it going to be the mentor ‘Professor X’ or is it going to be the Sith Lord come to take Syd to the Dark Side?"

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He added: "I think when you’ve got the type of powers that she’s got you can become an asset in a bigger world that’s been brewing outside of the tiny town where we started the story,”

“So I’d like it to immediately off the bat to be a hint that whoa there’s a bigger world out there than just one girl with crazy powers."

I Am Not Okay With This is available to stream now on Netflix.

Netflix releases new trailer for sci-fi teen drama I Am Not Okay With This

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LeBron James Is Rebooting This Classic Horror Franchise

LeBron James’ Hollywood connection is nothing new to those who have paid attention to the NBA star’s career. A national phenom before he ever finished high school, James has used his earnings in the NBA and as a pitchman to build an empire that stretches far beyond sports. One entertainment acquisition his production company made could make him a killing of a different kind. 

LeBron James goes to Hollywood

James‘ imprint on Hollywood was already there long before he joined the Los Angeles Lakers. A natural pitchman from an early age, James became bigger than basketball and Nike shoes. He became a brand unto himself. His commercials focused on this by having a more cinematic feeling than the average shoe ad, as reported by LA Times.

James went on animated adventures, played multiple versions of himself, and got into puppet-based duels with Kobe Bryant. As he grew older, however, his connection to Hollywood grew bigger and bigger. A 2015 appearance in the Judd Apatow comedy Trainwreck showed that he had acting chops, but James was becoming bigger than cameos in comedies. He was growing into his own entertainment company.

SpringHill Entertainment wasted no time producing films, television shows, and online content after its inception. Through the production company, James was able to bring the long-gestating Space Jam sequel to life and produce several documentaries about essential topics. Comedies, dramas, films, and game shows all bore James’ name in their credits. 

Lost in all the hype, however, was one particular franchise that James acquired the rights for.

Friday the 13th

RELATED: LeBron James Has Always Shown an Interest in Cinema

Friday the 13th has now been a part of the international lexicon for forty years. The original film, which starred a young Kevin Bacon alongside several other actors who were picked off by an angry killer, spawned a franchise that lives until this day. Although the original film saw an older woman named Pamela Voorhees as the killer, the rains of the franchise eventually went to her son, Jason. 

Jason, who picked up a hockey mask in the third film of the franchise and proceeded to kill promiscuous teenagers and innocent bystanders for decades onward, became an iconic villain. He died more times than most people could count but always came back in the name of murder. He’s been to space, battled Freddy Krueger, and taken to Times Square during his cinematic lifespan. Jason has also appeared on toys, video games, television, and more mediums than anyone can imagine.

The last attempt at a film came in 2009 when the series was rebooted for a modern audience. Since then, it has been in a complicated battle over ownership. 

LeBron meets Jason? 

Although James‘ involvement will likely start and end with a producer credit, he made news after acquiring the rights to film a new movie in 2018, according to Variety. The movie industry had recently seen the successful reboot of the Halloween franchise, and this likely influenced James and company to hop on the bandwagon. 

While Space Jam 2, NBA 2K20, and several other properties are significant steps in SpringHill’s journey to legitimacy, Friday the 13th is its biggest acquisition yet. James and company have a chance to revitalize a franchise that has made millions of dollars and worked its way into the folklore of horror history. 

It could be a while before fans of the horror franchise get to see their beloved Jason take the screen, however. Jason’s complicated on-screen folklore makes the rights to his likeness as a character a chore to figure out. Original screenwriter Victor Miller owns the rights to the original movie and all of its characters. Some could argue, however, that Jason is a different story. 

Whatever happens, James’ interest in the franchise show he is not here for ceremonial inclusions into major Hollywood events. He wants to be a power player, and if everything goes right, Friday the 13th could be his ticket to all of this. 

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Dogs Working From Home is the only Instagram account you need to follow

A lot of people are working from home as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. While adjusting to remote work can be a challenge, it’s less of an arduous task for dogs, who couldn’t be more thrilled that their people are now spending more time with them than ever. Some dogs are so happy that their humans are working from home that they’ve even started working alongside them — well, sort of.

While our beloved furry friends may not be bringing home the bacon, they are bringing home some serious smiles through the Instagram account Dogs Working From Home, which has nearly 100,000 followers. As the name suggests, the account is filled with pics of adorable doggos “working” from home.

From pooches “working” at computers to taking a coffee break, the account shows the various phases of going about a day of working from home, with canines serving as the models. Whether they’re donning a tie, or taking very important phone calls from bed, the puppers featured on Dogs Working From Home aren’t just squeal-worthy, they’re surprisingly relatable.

Dogs Working From Home is the diversion you didn't know you needed

Dogs Working From Home is the brainchild of Mark Polchleb, a brand manager based in Melbourne, Australia. “I just took advantage of the fact that my dogs are at my feet,” he told The Guardian of the decision to start up the account. “I thought ‘we all need a bit of happiness in our lives right now.'”

While the account started off featuring Polchleb’s pups, Billie and Ollie, submissions quickly started flooding in of pet parents eager to show off their own working doggos. Soon, there were so many dogs being submitted that Polchleb had to enlist his husband to help run the account. “It’s hard to balance [posting] and actually working, so my husband’s helping out now … so there’s a constant feed of happiness for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

If you want to submit your own dog to Dogs Working From Home, Polchleb only has one rule.  “[The dogs] definitely need to be at home,” he said. “Obviously we’re at a time where we’re encouraging people to stay at home and indoors… We want to see those doggos at home with their families where everyone should be staying for now. Apart from that, as long as they’re cute and can make us smile then we’ll take anything.”

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Glossier Is Donating $1 Million to Black Lives Matter and Black-Owned Beauty Brands

Glossier is pledging to support Black-owned beauty brands, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, going forward.

The millennial-adored makeup brand made the announcement over the weekend while protests went on nationwide, seeking justice for the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black American lives lost over the years at the hands of police officials. In a message shared to the brand’s official Instagram account, as well as to that of the brand’s founder and CEO, Emily Weiss, Glossier declared that it will “stand in solidarity with the fight against systematic racism, white supremacy, and the historic oppression of the Black community.” Though dozens of brands have vocalized their support and condolences toward Black Americans at this time, Glossier serves as one of the sole brands to swiftly take monetary action toward the cause.

“We will be donating $500K across organizations focused on combating racial injustice: Black Lives Matter, The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The Equal Justice Initiative, The Marsha P. Johnson Institute and We The Protesters,” read Glossier’s statement.

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#BlackLivesMatter

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The beauty brand also declared that it would commit an additional $500,000 in the form of grants to Black-owned beauty brands and would announce more on the specific initiative later this month.

“We’re inspired by so many in our community who are using their voices and making change. We see you and are with you,” continued the brand’s message. “For those looking for ways to take action, you can find resources for engagement and education in our [Instagram] Stories.”

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Neymar is the second best player in world behind Lionel Messi and AHEAD of Cristiano Ronaldo, claims ex-Barca president – The Sun

NEYMAR is better than Cristiano Ronaldo… and second only to Lionel Messi in the list of football's greatest current star.

That is according to former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, who signed the Brazilian from Santos in 2013.


And the ex-Nou Camp chief is adamant if he was still in charge of the club, he would make re-singing the now-PSG star his No1 priority.

Rosell, who ran the Catalan giants between 2010 and 2014, told COPE and Radio Marca: "If I were the president of Barca, I would try to sign Neymar.

"He is the second-best player in the world after Messi and fits perfectly into the philosophy of the club.

"But with experience, I would sign him with two contracts, one sports and the other behavioural."

Neymar, 28, spent four years with Messi at Barcelona before his world-record £198million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

During that time the La Liga giants, the pair – along with Luis Suarez – formed one of the deadliest attacking trios of all time as they were crowned European and world champions in 2015.

And the defending La Liga champions have persistently been linked with a deal to bring him back to the Nou Camp.

But fans of Portuguese superstar Ronaldo will no doubt have something to say about Rosell's stance – after all his name is always mentioned in the 'Greatest of all Time' debate.

The Juventus frontman turned 35 in February but smashed in 36 goals for club and country before the season was halted – 12 more than Messi and double that of Neymar.

Not to mention his five Ballons d'Or – topped only by Messi who won his sixth this year.

Neymar, on the other hand, is yet to break into the top two or the voting for world football's most prestigious individual award, finishing third in both 2015 and 2017.

And while he may boast a stunning goalscoring record by the age of 21 with 140 goals in 227 games – comfortably more than his illustrious rivals – overall goalscoring stats weigh heavily against the Samba star.

Across Europe's top-five leagues – therefore excluding Neymar's time at Santos and Ronaldo's at Sporting Lisbon – Messi has 438 goals, Ronaldo is ONE behind on 437… with Neymar far adrift on 115.

He also has the worst minutes-per-goal ratio at 127 to Ronaldo's 101 and Messi's simply staggering 87.

Internationally the Selecao sensation has 61 goals in 101 caps as he chases down Pele's record haul of 77 – but it still short of Messi, with 70 in 138, and Ronaldo who is just one short of three figures with 99 in 164.

While Neymar can only manage half the number of assists as Ronaldo and around a third of Messi's tally of 174.

It means he is directly involved in a goal every 81 minutes compared to Ronaldo's 78 and Messi's 62.

One stat that does go in Neymar's favour, however, is his win ratio.

The Brazilian has won 78.3 per cent of his 175 matches in Europe's top leagues, marginally pipping both Messi (74.7 per cent) and Ronaldo (71.9 per cent).

In terms of major team silverware, Neymar – the youngest of the three – has 12 across his spells at Barca and PSG, including five league titles.

The most recent of those was this season's Ligue 1, awarded when the campaign was terminated early due to the coronavirus crisis.

However Messi, 32, has 23 trophies at Barcelona while Ronaldo has 20 spread across England, Spain and now Italy.

Internationally, Ronaldo boasts the best record with his Euro 2016 and 2019 Nations League triumphs topping Messi's 2008 Olympic gold medal and the 2013 Confederations Cup Neymar won with Brazil.

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Dominic Cummings 'is set to quit in six months', sources say

Dominic Cummings ‘is set to quit in six months’: Boris Johnson’s under-fire chief adviser ‘will leave after drawing a line under Brexit’

  • EXCLUSIVE: Dominic Cummings is ‘considering quitting’ Downing Street role
  • Could leave post as senior aide for Boris Johnson at Christmas, sources say
  • He would think himself ‘largely redundant’ following his Whitehall shake-up
  • Prime Minister has received calls to sack his adviser over lockdown controversy
  • Mr Johnson today slapped down criticism saying it is time to ‘move on’

Dominic Cummings is considering quitting as Boris Johnson’s senior adviser later this year, well-placed sources said yesterday.

According to an insider who knows him well, he intends to step back from the political front line now that the UK is finally cutting ties with the EU.

The suggestion that he could be out in six months was reinforced by a separate claim that he will consider himself ‘largely redundant’ by Christmas if he completes his shake-up of Whitehall mandarins by then.

The report appeared in the Spectator magazine, where Mr Cummings used to work, and where his wife Mary Wakefield is a commissioning editor.

A senior source said: ‘Dominic has not decided what to do. He had to delay medical treatment unrelated to Covid because of the virus. He will deal with that when the pandemic is over and then discuss things with Mary. He will stay in his job if it seems worthwhile and [he] can improve things – otherwise he probably won’t.’

The question marks over his future follow the furore over Mr Cummings’s decision to drive his wife and young son 260 miles to his parents’ farm in Durham at the start of the lockdown. While they were there, the couple visited a nearby beauty spot.

The Prime Minister has refused to back widespread calls – including from 40 Tory MPs – for Mr Cummings to resign, arguing it is time to ‘move on’ after a week-long controversy over his conduct.

In other developments:

  • The Premier League season is set to resume on June 17, precisely 100 days after the season was abruptly halted;
  • Dentists were told they can reopen from June 8;
  • Those ‘shielding’ from coronavirus because they have serious health conditions were given hope that they may be granted freedom ‘relatively soon’ despite having to remain indoors for the time being;
  • Just 24 hours after touching down in Britain, the latest Mail Force charity airlift was reaching the NHS front line, with the first of a million high-quality surgical masks arriving at a hospital;
  • In Scotland, people from two households can meet outdoors at a distance from Friday, and in Wales people from two households will be able to meet outside from Monday;
  • The NHS test and trace programme went live but was branded a ‘shambles’ after staff said they weren’t prepared;
  • Fewer than 1,000 deaths have been reported in English hospitals over the past week, the lowest number since lockdown began; 
  • A major study suggested that seven out of ten people infected with coronavirus have never shown symptoms;
  • Hairdressers could soon be allowed to open their doors if they wear gloves and masks;
  • Rishi Sunak is today expected to throw another lifeline to self-employed workers;
  • The BBC was embroiled in a bitter internal row after bosses said a monologue by Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis about Mr Cummings had broken impartiality rules.

Dominic Cummings is considering quitting as Boris Johnson ’s senior adviser later this year, sources have claimed

The report appeared in the Spectator magazine, where Mr Cummings used to work, and where his wife Mary Wakefield (pictured, together in December 2019) is a commissioning editor

The claim that Mr Cummings, 48, could be gone in six months will lead some to believe it is a face-saving measure to resolve a bitter clash between Mr Johnson and rebel MPs.

A defiant Mr Cummings could say he has resisted the latest in a long line of attempts by his foes to sack him; Mr Johnson could say he has shown he is loyal to his inner circle and strong enough to withstand pressure from public opinion and the media.

Meanwhile, Mr Cummings’s Tory MP detractors could say that despite the six-month wait, they have achieved their objective of removing him from No 10 and defused fury among the party faithful.

Mr Cummings’s allies insist his potential exit is not connected to the lockdown rumpus and that he ‘never intended’ to stay in Downing Street after achieving his two main aims: cutting the UK’s last ties with Brussels and reforming the Civil Service.

Mr Cummings joined Mr Johnson’s Downing Street team in July last year following his Conservative leadership bid, and was pivotal in the success of the December General Election campaign

The former is due to take place on December 31 when Britain’s Brexit ‘transition period’ is scheduled to end.

Officials say one of the reasons Mr Johnson is digging his heels in over Mr Cummings is that he sees his hard-line anti-EU adviser as essential to maintaining the Government’s resolve to stick to the New Year deadline.

Political campaigner Mr Cummings masterminded the Brexit victory in the 2016 EU referendum and played a vital role in helping Mr Johnson win an election landslide in December.

The Spectator report said that by Christmas, Mr Cummings expects to have completed his campaign to recruit a new tier of talented and high-powered individuals from the private sector or academia to take charge of Whitehall departments.

Mr Cummings declined to comment last night.

Durham police say that Dominic Cummings DIDN’T break lockdown rules with 260-mile trip to parents’ – but MIGHT have with drive to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight

ByJames Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline 

Boris Johnson’s desperate battle to cling on to maverick chief aide Dominic Cummings was boosted today as police said his 260-mile trip to Durham did not break lockdown rules – and a 60-mile jaunt to a beauty spot only ‘might have’. 

The PM will be breathing a sigh of relief after Durham Police stopped short of condemning the top adviser outright, and said he will face no further action. 

Downing Street immediately doubled down in its defence of Mr Cummings, with a spokesman saying the matter is now ‘closed’.

Mr Johnson again attempted to shift the focus from the damaging row this evening when he announces an easing of the draconian lockdown at the daily press briefing – and said he wanted to ‘draw a line’ on the Cummings fiasco. 

But he is certain to face more questions on the issue, as Tory infighting continues over whether Mr Cummings should have been sacked. One of Mr Johnson’s own ministers, Penny Mordaunt, is among dozens of MPs who have criticised the aide’s ‘inconsistent’ account of his journeys at the height of the lockdown and accused him of undermining the crucial public health message.

Mr Cummings emerged from the shadows on Monday to front an extraordinary press conference of his own in the Downing Street rose garden. He insisted he acted ‘lawfully’ in March when he travelled to Durham with wife Mary Wakefield, who was displaying coronavirus symptoms, and their four-year-old son to seek childcare help from family. 

The trio later made a day trip to Barnard Castle, which Mr Cummings – who by then had also been through coronavirus – claims was to test out his eye-sight to see if he was fit to drive.     

Durham Police said today that Mr Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle ‘might have’ been in ‘minor breach’ of the regulations.

The force added that if an officer had stopped Mr Cummings on his journey they would have provided ‘advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis’. 

Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, ‘no enforcement action would have been taken’. 

But Durham Police said they did not consider Mr Cummings self-isolating at his family’s farm a breach of the guidelines, and no further action would be taken.  

Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his residence in north London today

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the back of Downing Street in London today

The £157,000-a-year police chief whose force found itself at the centre of the Dominic Cummings row

Jo Farrell was appointed chief constable of Durham Constabulary last June, becoming the first woman ever to hold the key position in the force’s 180-year history.

During her time at Northumbria Police she was involved with the manhunt for killer Raoul Moat in 2010, and was in command on the night he called the force to say he was hunting for police.

Her appointment as Durham chief capped an impressive rise up the ranks during a career with the police which began nearly 30 years ago when she joined Cambridgeshire Police in 1991 aged 22 as a constable.

Mrs Farrell, whose hobbies include cooking and keeping fit, is married to a retired police officer and has two stepsons and a daughter.

The £156,958-a-year chief was born on the Wirral in Merseyside before moving to Cambridgeshire aged 15 when her father relocated with his job, and then she completing a degree in business at Sheffield Polytechnic.

Mrs Farrell had wanted to join the police since childhood and her first role was a five-year stint on the beat in Cambridge city centre.

Then in 2002 she joined Northumbria Police as a chief inspector before being promoted to assistant chief constable.

In 2016 Mrs Farrell joined Durham Constabulary and took charge of the policing for various high-profile events before her appointment as chief constable, taking over from Mike Barton after his seven-year stint.

Speaking last year, she said: ‘I was 22 when I joined the police and I absolutely loved it. Although I don’t have any family connection with the police, I had always wanted to join and I was so proud when I first became an officer.

‘As I tell all our new recruits, when we get it right, we can have such a positive impact on people’s lives – the difference that we can make is phenomenal’.

She also works on behalf of the National Police Chiefs’ Council in information management and criminal justice file quality.

In a statement the force said: ‘In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating 

‘Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public. Durham Constabulary has not taken retrospective action against any other person.’ 

A No10 spokesman said the Prime Minister now considers this matter closed after Durham Police decided not to pursue legal action.

They added: ‘The police have made clear they are taking no action against Mr Cummings over his self-isolation and that going to Durham did not breach the regulations. 

‘The Prime Minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed.’ 

The force found itself at the centre of the explosive political row  after saying in a statement that it gave advice on lockdown guidelines and self-isolation when officers visited Mr Cummings’ father on March 31.  

On Sunday the force backtracked, saying that officers only gave security advice after learning that Mr Cummings was coming from London with his four-year-old son and wife. 

The top aide claims he used the journey on his wife’s birthday to check his vision had recovered enough to drive back to London after suffering suspected Covid-19.

He had already travelled 260 miles from the capital to the North East two weeks before to stay at his parents’ farm.

Road police officers warned it was a bad idea to take to road with impaired vision in the wake of the Cummings case.

Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter wrote on Twitter: ‘Folks, I say this in all sincerity and as an important road safety issue.

‘If you’re feeling unwell and your eyesight may be impaired do not drive your vehicle to test your ability to drive. It’s not a wise move.

‘As a former road death investigator with Hampshire police I have investigated many serious collisions, including fatalities.

‘Some of these were caused by drivers with impaired vision, this is a serious issue. Do not drive if your eyesight is impaired or you feel unwell.’

Boris Johnson ruled out an inquiry into his top advisor yesterday and urged people to ‘move on’ from the incident.

But that has done little to quell anger in the Tory ranks over Mr Cummings behaviour.

Penny Mordaunt, who currently serves as Paymaster General, said there are ‘inconsistencies’ in Mr Cummings’ account and that the row had ‘undermined key public health messages’. 

Meanwhile, former chancellor Mr Javid said in a letter to constituents that he did not believe Mr Cummings’ trip to Durham to self-isolate with his family was ‘necessary or justified’.  

Though stopping short of calling for the aide’s resignation as many of his Tory colleagues have done, Mr Javid did call on him to apologise for the controversial journey.

It came as the Tory MP for Darlington, Peter Gibson, admitted he had travelled back to the North East from London by train in March after developing coronavirus symptoms while in Westminster. 

Mr Gibson said he had first got a cough on March 11, before lockdown was imposed, and had been advised to return to his Darlington home to self-isolate because he did not have anywhere he could stay safely in the capital.  

Mr Johnson flatly dismissed calls for an official inquiry into Mr Cummings yesterday as he told the Liaison Committee he believed it was just a ‘political ding dong’. 

The PM said he ‘totally understood public indignation’ about the situation, but insisted some of the allegations about his chief aide were ‘not correct’ and that the matter should now be left in the past. 

Tory MP Peter Gibson has admitted travelling from London to the North East by train after developing coronavirus symptoms 

The PM has seen his party’s ratings tumble by four points in a week amid the Dominic Cummings row, while support for Labour has gone up five points, according to a YouGov survey for the Times

The PM’s personal ratings have also been plummeting amid the row over his chief adviser’s lockdown activities

Many senior ministers have publicly backed Mr Cummings either with comments to the media or through messages on social media.  

But it has emerged that Ms Mordaunt was critical of the aide in an email sent to a constituent. 

However, she also did not go so far as calling for Mr Cummings to be sacked, insisting it is a ‘matter for the Prime Minister who he has as his adviser’.

‘Despite Mr Cummings’ statement yesterday (on Monday) I am personally still not clear of the facts,’ the minister wrote.

‘There are some inconsistencies in his account of events and the reasons behind it.

‘I am not clear about when he would have been symptomatic and on what dates he should have been in isolation. Or whether it was appropriate he drove home at the time he did.

‘There is no doubt he took risks – refuelling at a petrol station is a risk to oneself and to others, which presumably he did. 

‘What is clear is that the scenes of the last few days will have undermined key public health messages. I deeply regret this and am very sorry for it.’ 

Mr Javid quit as chancellor in February this year during a Cabinet reshuffle following an escalation in tensions with Mr Cummings, who had fired one of his aides without telling him.

Tory MPs who have called for Dominic Cummings to be sacked

The number of Tory MPs who have now called for Mr Cummings to be sacked after his press conference stands at at least 30. 

They are believed to be: 

Douglas Ross – Scotland minister who has quit

Harriett Baldwin – former Treasury minister

Sir Roger Gale – Tory veteran, MP since 1983 

Martin Vickers – Eurosceptic MP for Cleethorpes

Peter Bone – leading Brexit campaigner in 2016

Craig Whittaker – former Tory whip 

Robert Goodwill – former environment minister

Paul Maynard – ex-transport minister

Mark Pawsey – MP for Rugby for 10 years

Sir Robert Syms –  MP for Poole since 1997 

Tim Loughton – former children’s minister

Jason McCartney – former RAF officer

Peter Aldous – MP for Waveney since 2010

John Stevenson – solicitor and MP for Carlisle

Caroline Nokes – ex-immigration minister

Damian Collins – chair of DCMS select committee

Philip Davies – outspoken backbench MP

Julian Sturdy – farmer and MP for York Outer

Alec Shelbrooke – backed Jeremy Hunt for leadership

Mark Harper – former chief whip

Stephen Hammond – arch Remainer MP for Wimbledon

Simon Hoare – Only an MP since 2015

Andrew Percy – ex-Northern Powerhouse minister

David Warburton – MP for Froome since 2015

Steve Baker – Former ERG chairman and Brexiteer

Andrew Jones – North Yorkshire MP since 2010

Jeremy Wright – Former Attorney General and DCMS Secretary

Bob Neill – Justice Select Committee chair

James Gray – MP for North Wiltshire for 23 years

George Freeman – Former transport minister

Mark Garnier – Wyre Forest MP since 2010 

Jackie Doyle-Price – Thurrock MP and former civil servant 

Stephen Metcalfe – Father-of-two with wife Angela 

Elliot Colburn – Carshalton and Wallington MP since December 

Bob Stewart – Former British Army officer

He was told by Mr Johnson that to stay in post he would have to accept losing all of his special advisers with Number 10 then hand-picking their replacements. 

Mr Javid said he therefore had no choice but to resign, saying in the immediate aftermath: ‘I don’t believe any self-respecting minister would accept those conditions.’   

The former Chancellor has now resurfaced to take aim at Mr Cummings over his alleged lockdown breach.  

Mr Javid wrote in the letter to constituents: ‘Mr Cummings has argued he acted within the letter of the law.

‘As a father myself, I also appreciate the fear and uncertainty one can feel when the safety of your child is potentially at stake.

‘That being said I do not believe Mr Cummings’ journey to County Durham to isolate on his family’s estate was necessary or justified. I remain unconvinced his visit to Barnard Castle could be considered reasonable.

‘I was also deeply concerned by his decision to return to Downing Street directly after coming into contact with a family member who was ill, potentially with coronavirus.’ 

The ongoing row over Mr Cummings’ trip came as Mr Gibson revealed he had travelled approximately 250 miles by train to get home after developing Covid-19 symptoms. 

Mr Gibson, who was elected for the first time in 2019, told the Northern Echo that he had contacted the MPs’ coronavirus hotline after developing a cough and was told to self-isolate for seven days. 

But he said he did not have accommodation in London because he was ‘staying in the spare room of a friend’s flat’. 

‘I was advised if my normal mode of transport was the train I should use that but should isolate and keep myself to myself, which is what I did,’ he told the newspaper. 

He added: ‘Some people will say I should have stayed in London but where was I supposed to stay?’ 

More than 40 Conservative MPs have called on Mr Cummings to quit his role because of the lockdown journey row. 

However, the Prime Minister has so far resisted all requests to punish his aide. 

Pushed on whether the Cabinet Secretary should carry out a formal investigation, Mr Johnson said there had been plenty of ‘autobiography’ from Mr Cummings and it would not be a ‘good use of official time’ as everyone was working ‘flat out’ on the coronavirus response. 

In one particularly bruising exchange at the Liaison Committee yesterday afternoon, Labour’s Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Yvette Cooper jibed: ‘Forty-thousand people are dead. We need you to get this right now.’  

The clashes came with the row over Mr Cummings’ 260-mile trip to Durham during lockdown still threatening to tear the Conservative Party apart.   

The party’s poll lead has been slashed by nine points in a week – thought to be the biggest drop in a decade. And despite the desperate plea for the focus to shift on to other subjects, nearly two-thirds of people say the story remains important.     

Conservative MP Danny Kruger complained that ‘one wing’ of the party was ‘going bonkers’ by comparing the alleged lockdown breach to ‘the invasion of Suez’. 

But in a sign of the depth of anger within the party, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has insisted Mr Cummings ‘clearly’ did break the rules. 

A private conference call with government whips and the new intake of Conservative MPs yesterday appeared to have smoothed over matters somewhat. But last night even one of the whips came out with criticism of Mr Cummings. 

Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green in North London, told the Evening Standard it was ‘entirely reasonable for people to vehemently disagree with his (Mr Cummings) view of events’.

He added: ‘I do not believe it is the conclusion many of my constituents, or myself, would have reached.’ 

Three more Tories, George Freeman, Giles Watling and Pauline Latham, have called on Mr Cummings to resign. 

Former transport minister Mr Freeman tweeted: ‘After 48hrs & c1000 emails from constituents expressing outage at the PM’s Chief of Staff breaking the lockdown & not apologising, it’s clear that public anger at the betrayal of their trust & compliance now risks a collapse of respect for HMG public health advice. DC has to go.’    

Amid fierce questioning from MPs at the committee hearing yesterday, Mr Johnson was asked whether the Government’s ‘moral authority’ had been compromised by the row. 

‘This has really been going on for several days now – in the media at least,’ he said.

‘I, of course, am deeply sorry for all the hurt and pain and anxiety that people have been going through throughout this period – this country has been going through a frankly most difficult time.

‘We are asking people to do quite exceptionally tough things, separating them from their families.’

Mr Johnson said he would not be adding to his previous comments on Mr Cummings and said the public wanted politicians to focus on ‘uniting our message’ and ‘focusing on their needs’.

Northern Ireland committee chair Simon Hoare – one of around 40 Tory MPs baying for Mr Cummings’ resignation – warned the PM the nation will be ‘far less energetic’ about obeying future restrictions as ‘a direct result of the activities of your senior adviser’.

Mr Hoare asked what MPs should tell constituents who ask ‘if other people don’t abide by it why on earth should we’ because ‘we know what your views are, frankly Prime Minister, I don’t think anybody understands why you hold those views’.

Mr Johnson replied: ‘I don’t think that’s true about how the British people will respond to the next phases, to how to work the test and trace system, I don’t think that’s how they responded at all throughout the crisis.

‘If, just suppose for a second that you were right, which I don’t accept, all the more reason now for us to be consistent and clear in our message driving those key messages.’ 

Mr Johnson said he had seen evidence to prove that some of the allegations made against Mr Cummings were false.

But asked by Labour MP Meg Hillier whether the Cabinet Secretary should also see that evidence, the PM said: ‘I think actually that it would not be doing my job if I were now to shuffle this problem into the hands of officials who, believe me, Meg, are – as I think the public would want – working flat out to deal with coronavirus…

‘I totally understand public indignation, I totally understand that, but I do think that as I understand things, and I’ve said what I’ve said about the whole business, I think it would be much better if we could now move on and focus on the next steps.’

Under fire from Ms Cooper, Mr Johnson said people could travel to get childcare during lockdown if there were ‘exceptional’ circumstances. 

But Ms Cooper demanded on the advice: ‘What is it? Because it is not clear to me.’  

Mr Johnson shot back: ‘The clear advice is to stay at home unless you absolutely have to go to work to do your job. 

‘If you have exceptional problems with childcare then that may cause you to vary your arrangements.’

Mr Johnson went on to describe the row over Mr Cummings as a ‘political ding dong’, and said: ‘A lot of the allegations that were made about that adviser were simply not correct.’ 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick was clearly frustrated yesterday morning as he was forced to defend the adviser during a tetchy interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

Mr Jenrick said people were entitled to ‘do as Dominic Cummings chose to do’ if they could not find childcare.

‘If there are no other options, if you don’t have ready access to childcare, you can do as Dominic Cummings chose to do,’ he said.

‘The guidelines say you must do your best, but they appreciate that family life poses particular challenges and in order to protect you children you are allowed to exercise degree of personal judgement.’

Mr Jenrick also confirmed that a review into fines imposed on people travelling during lockdown for childcare reasons would not be going ahead less than 24 hours after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would consider it.

Dozens of Mr Johnson’s own MPs have now joined opposition politicians to demand that Mr Cummings is sacked, but the premier has flatly dismissed the calls. 

And Mr Kruger upped the ante by telling Newsnight that ‘one wing of our party is going collectively bonkers by comparing a four year old’s toilet break to the invasion of Suez’.

‘Appreciate the inbox and press are horrific but the PM is signalling (as he did with the sacking of 21 MPs last year – which appalled the same people in the parly party) that he’s serious.’

Mr Kruger said that Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings together were ‘why we won the 2019 election’.

‘An arguable minor infraction of lockdown rules is totally secondary to that,’ he said.

‘Also, No10 won’t budge, so calling for (Mr Cummings) to go is basically declaring no confidence in PM.’ 

Senior ministers have publicly expressed public support for the defiant adviser but a number of Cabinet members are unhappy at the situation.

 

 

‘Don’t drag us into Cummings row’: Slapdown for reporters after they accuse Boris Johnson of blocking them asking government science advisors Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance about PM’s aide 

The Government’s two most senior science and health advisers tonight insisted they ‘don’t want to get involved’ in the Dominic Cummings lockdown row as Boris Johnson said he intended to ‘draw a line under it’. 

Durham Police today said Mr Cummings’ 260-mile trip to the city did not break lockdown rules while a 60-mile jaunt to a beauty spot only ‘might have’.

The force stopped short of condemning the PM’s top adviser and said he will face no further action. 

Reporters used the daily Downing Street press conference to try to ask Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance if the row could harm public compliance with lockdown rules. 

Mr Johnson initially tried to shield them from answering questions as he said they should not be required to join what he described as ‘fundamentally a political argument’. 

But both Sir Patrick and Prof Whitty then spoke out as they said they had no interest in getting dragged into the row.  

Prof Whitty said: ‘I can assure you that the desire not to get pulled into politics is far stronger on the part of Sir Patrick and me than it is in the Prime Minister.’

Sir Patrick added: ‘I am a civil servant, I am politically neutral, I don’t want to get involved in politics at all.’

Reporters, including the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, had sought Prof Whitty’s and Sir Patrick’s opinion on the row but Mr Johnson initially tried to shield them from answering questions

ITV’s Robert Peston followed up by asking Mr Johnson if the scientific advisers should be prevented from giving their opinion on flouting the lockdown rules

Mr Johnson had said it was ‘unfair and unnecessary’ to seek opinions on the row from the two independent advisers. 

He had been asked by the BBC ‘why should anyone else’ stick to lockdown rules if his aide may have breached them. 

Mr Johnson replied: ‘Can I say I have said quite a lot on this matter already and what I also notice Durham Police has said was that they were going to take no action and that the matter was closed.

‘I intend to draw a line under the matter as I said I think yesterday to the parliamentary Liaison Committee. They are not taking any action and I intend to draw a line under it.’ 

Boris Johnson today said he intended to ‘draw a line under’ the Dominic Cummings lockdown row as he was flanked by Sir Patrick Vallance (left) and Professor Chris Whitty (right)

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