Police conclude Dominic Cummings’ castle trip possible ‘minor breach’

Police will not take further action against Boris Johnson aide over allegations he broke coronavirus lockdown rules.

Police conclude Dominic Cummings’ castle trip possible ‘minor breach’

LONDON — Boris Johnson’s top aide’s drive from his parents’ property in Durham to Barnard Castle might have constituted a “minor breach” of lockdown regulations “that would have warranted police intervention,” a police investigation concluded Thursday.

After examining the circumstances surrounding Dominic Cummings’ journey to the tourist spot on April 12 with his wife and son, Durham Constabulary said in a statement that police view this incident as minor since there was “no apparent breach of social distancing.”

The statement said police will not take retrospective action against him since this would amount to treating Cummings differently from other people.

At a press conference Monday, Cummings said he drove nearly 48 kilometers to Barnard Castle to test his eye sight after recovering from a suspected case of COVID-19 in order to ensure it was safe for him to drive back to London and return to work.

Cummings had driven to a property on his father’s farm in late March in order to self-isolate near family in case he and his wife needed childcare support after they both fell ill. This stay was not judged by police to have breached the law, though the statement makes clear police are not concerned with possible breaches of the government’s guidance to stay at home.

The police report said: “Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of traveling during the pandemic crisis. Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.”

The statement added officers had not seen evidence suggesting the aide took an alleged second trip to Durham on April 19, something Cummings has denied.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “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.”

Source : Politico EU More   

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Spain’s government lashes out at Nissan over Barcelona factory closure

The government thought the factory's future was 'guaranteed.'

Spain’s government lashes out at Nissan over Barcelona factory closure

Nissan said Thursday it would close its plant at Barcelona’s Zona Franca, threatening about 3,000 jobs and triggering a scramble among politicians to figure out a contingency plan.

Nissan’s Chief Executive Makoto Uchida confirmed the closure during a video press conference on Thursday in which he announced sweeping restructuring. That’s a major blow for Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who had insisted earlier this year that the factory’s future was “guaranteed.”

“We considered various measures in Barcelona and although it was a very difficult decision we intend to close the plant,” said Uchida.

On Wednesday, Nissan agreed a new cooperation program with Renault that will see the French carmaker take the lead in Europe as the whole auto industry grapples with expensive shifts in electromobility and autonomous driving systems, as well as the impact of the pandemic.

The closure of the Barcelona factory, which dates back to 1920 but has only been owned by Nissan since 1980, is hardly a surprise. The site had been operating far below its maximum capacity since 2012 and concerns over its viability increased months ago when Nissan cut 600 jobs to reduce costs.

However, Nissan said it will keep open its Sunderland factory in the U.K., despite fears that Brexit could lead to its closure. Its peer Honda last year announced plans to close its Swindon plant in the U.K. by 2022, costing 3,500 jobs.

Auto failure

In its announcement on Thursday, Nissan said it will now redirect its resources toward Japan, China and the United States, giving ground to Renault in Continental Europe.

The production of vans will be shifted from Barcelona to Renault’s French factories.

The decision is a big blow to manufacturing and employment in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia, where carmaking has been a crucial sector for decades. About 3,000 direct jobs and between 25,000 and 30,000 indirect jobs depend on Barcelona’s Zona Franca factory.

The decision also represents a failure for Sánchez after months of intense negotiations to persuade Nissan to keep the factory open.

“We regret this decision by Nissan … despite the enormous efforts by the government to keep the business going,” Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González said.

Spain insists that saving the Barcelona site is still possible if Nissan were to apply a viability plan developed jointly with the Spanish Ministry of Industry and the Catalan regional government. Spain and Catalonia had offered an injection of up to €100 million — about a third of what Nissan needed to invest to build a new electric vehicle at the Barcelona factory that would ensure its long-term viability.

Spain is determined not to make Nissan’s exit easy. The government argues that closing the factory would cost the company more than €1 billion in compensation to workers and suppliers, as well as the repayment of €25 million in taxpayer money handed to Nissan over the last 12 years. Madrid says that it would be cheaper for Nissan to invest and save the site.

The government also warned that leaving Barcelona and Spain equals “abandoning the European Union, with the consequent reputational damage in a market of more than 500 million people.”

Economic Affairs Minister Nadia Calviño said Thursday the government wants to discuss “an alternative solution” for the Zona Franca site with Nissan and has proposed the creation of a working group.

Unions plan street protests after weeks of being banned from doing so because of Barcelona’s lockdown restrictions. A strike that began on May 4 is set to continue.

“Nissan’s workers will not rest until they persuade the multinational to keep industrial operations in Spain,” said the CCOO union.

Nissan’s decision does not directly affect the future of the company’s other sites in northern Spain, including Ávila, where it produces spare parts, and Cantabria, where it manufactures electric vans.

Aitor Hernández-Morales contributed reporting.

Source : Politico EU More   

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