Why Barnard Castle 672

UPDATED Dominic Cummings specifically stated now in the press briefing that he had been eager to “get back to work to get vaccine deals through, move regulations aside” and that is why he drove to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight.

Now it may be entirely a coincidence that the place to which he chose to drive for his eyesight test happened to be the site of the major factory of GlaxoSmithKline. It may be an entire coincidence that two days later, on the very day Cummings actually started work back in Downing Street he has stated was “to get vaccine deals through”, GlaxoSmithKline announced an agreement to develop the vaccine.

It is however plainly not crazy to ask the question. This astonishing Twitter pile-on against Clive Lewis for retweeting my piece says something very worrying, when you consider that the large majority of those piling in are supposedly part of the “opposition” and include many journalists. A society where it is viewed as a sign of madness to look into the prospect of corruption involving a company as massively, provenly corrupt as GlaxoSmithKline and a figure as shady as Cummings, is a very unhealthy society indeed.

One red flag to me is the number of trolls claiming GlaxoSmithKline only has a small and remote office in Barnard Castle. This is not the entire site, and in a further £96 million investment two new blocks are in construction or recently finished:

So to return to my original posting:

In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline were fined $3 billion for fraud, overcharging and making false claims about medicines in the USA. In 2016, GlaxoSmithKline were fined £37.6 million in the UK for bribing companies not to produce generic copies of their out of patent drugs, thus overcharging the NHS.

Despite the fines, these frauds were still massively profitable for GlaxoSmithKline. A perfunctory search on the company brings up similar frauds and fines it perpetrated in South Africa and India. All this within the last decade. I cannot find any information that anyone was jailed, or even sacked, for these criminal activities. It is absolutely astonishing that such an habitually criminal enterprise carries on serenely in the UK. And what is particularly interesting today is that it carries on its crooked activity from its massive manufacturing and research base in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

On 12 April Dominic Cummings was seen in Castle Barnard during lockdown. Two days later, GlaxoSmithKline of Barnard Castle signed an agreement to develop and manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine with Sanofi of France.

Of course, that could be coincidence. As a child I lived in nearby Peterlee and I know families may go to Barnard Castle just for relaxation. Even when that is illegal. But GlaxoSmithKline Barnard Castle has been working 24/7 during the coronavirus crisis including the weekends. It was working.

The government’s extraordinary refusal to confirm or deny Cummings visit to Barnard Castle appears to make little sense if he just went there for a walk.

But surely if he was discussing Covid-19 vaccine business on behalf of the government, that would answer all the critics of his trip, would it not? They would want to trumpet it from the hills? I mean to believe otherwise, you would have to propound a crazed conspiracy theory. You would have to believe that criminal activity may be occurring again involving GlaxoSmithKline of the kind which might lead to fines of 37.6 million pounds for overcharging the NHS, or of three billion dollars for fraudulent medical claims in the USA. Nobody sane believes that kind of thing, do they?

UPDATED: I should never be surprised by the puerile nature of debate on the internet, but I frequently am. There appears to be organised pushback stating that this article is only speculation. Of course it is. It states a number of facts not generally known, and wonders if there is a connection. It does not claim to have proof Cummings visited GSK, let alone of what he did when there. But both GSK and Cummings are known bad actors.

The even sillier argument is that Barnard Castle is the research and manufacturing centre and not the corporate HQ and therefore no deal could have been done there. Because when a company is involved in a massive criminal conspiracy, as GSK undeniably was in the multi-billion fraud in the USA or its price-fixing to the NHS, such criminal actions obviously can only be arranged in the main London company boardroom during normal working hours with lots of people around and the maximum chance of inconvenient people finding out what is happening? That is a stupid argument.

Equally, those who claim I have uncovered a criminal conspiracy are wrong. I have not. All I have done is put together some circumstances around Cummings denied trip to Barnard Castle, that could potentially provide a more reasonable explanation for why he would take the risk of going there, and why the government would stake all politically on denying it, than a day trip for a walk for his wife’s birthday. I have not proven anything.

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672 thoughts on “Why Barnard Castle

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  • Mary

    Johnson is at full bore attempting to charm the members of the Liasion Committee even by addressing them by their first names. The proceedings are virtual. He is in No 10. The committee members are in their homes so he is having things his own way. It’s a complete waste of time. He really is the waffler extraordinary and is expert at making his voice heard to the exclusion of others.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Does the PM answer MPs quesitons now from No.10/

    Does he now have trouble walking to the Commons? His legs won;t take the strain?

    • Laguerre

      I think ministers normally take a car for the 300m to the Commons. They’re affeared of being hassled, or even assassinated, if they went on foot.

  • Darling

    I think Craig’s piece is highly credible ….. Cummings is certainly a devious rat.

  • Colin Alexander

    Craig Murray

    Today I have received a response regarding my application to listen to Craig’s court hearing. So, others should also be receiving theirs soon too. Apparently, there was a delay in responding to the applications due to the volume of applicants.

    It says I will be provided with a dial-in number in due course and must treat the hearing with the same respect as a normal hearing.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    The meeting with Johnson at No. 10 was not a complete waste of time. It showed how weak he is under the best of circumstances, though the BBC. a member of the public media, did its best to hide it from the viewers.. We have a right to know that he is not up to the job.

    • Laguerre

      The Cummings affair has certainly done much to show up Johnson’s weakness. I don’t know that he can recover from it, though he may survive the immediate crisis.

      • michael norton

        Johnson looked frail, his voice is weak, he coughs, he is whiter than white, yet the Queen lets him take his daily exercise in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, he obviously is not on top of his game, he has not recovered from covid-19, he’d be better off being furloughed.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Walking around the Houses of Parliament is long walk, and Spencer Perceval, the only Prime Minister assassinated, was killed in the Lobby of the old Commons by a disgruntled client John Bellingham in 1812 Safer to parachute in.

        Lucky he didn’t bag Henry Brougham who had few disgruntled clients.

      • Deb O'Nair

        “I don’t know that he can recover from it”

        Let’s all hope so or we’ll have Priti Patel as PM.

    • Jordan

      Very interesting disection. If I did not know about Craigs post I would get the impression that DC’s (witness like) statement explains away the trip to Barnard Castle at the centre. I did not find that so obvious when I saw his press briefing.

  • Miles Newman

    There must be a security guard who saw Cummings arrive at the plant?

    • Ian T-W

      No need to actually go to the plant where there would security guards and cameras. It would be possible to meet at a nearby location. Perhaps in the vicinity of a scenic walk by a river…

      Whether or not the trip to Barnard Castle had anything to do with GSK, the fact that they are still in business after such appalling and criminal business practices represents a sorry state of affairs. One that would seem to require further scrutiny. This blog post seems to be a very good way to bring the unethical dealings of GSK to greater public attention.

      • Bayard

        “It would be possible to meet at a nearby location. Perhaps in the vicinity of a scenic walk by a river…”

        Or, as someone else suggested, DC just needed to get within range of GSK’s wi-fi.

  • Old person

    Is it not time to bring the Dominic Cummings witch hunt to an end?
    How many people did he (or his wife) put at risk and kill? Zero.

    While this furore is continuing, the major scandal with care homes is being ignored.

    And here is the key text…

    “1.30 We are mindful that some care providers are concerned about being able to effectively isolate COVID-positive residents, and we are determined to make sure discharges into nursing or social care do not put residents currently in those settings at risk. We can now confirm we will move to institute a policy of testing all residents prior to admission to care homes. This will begin with all those being discharged from hospital and the NHS will have a responsibility for testing these specific patients, in advance of timely discharge. Where a test result is still awaited, the patient will be discharged and pending the result, isolated in the same way as a COVID-positive patient will be (paragraph 1.32).
    1.31 We expect that a period of specialist NHS rehabilitation and recovery will be needed for many individuals who have suffered from COVID-19, especially older people. Thanks to the successful discharge policy to date and the new Nightingale Hospitals, the NHS expects to have sufficient capacity to provide this ongoing NHS care in NHS facilities for those who require it. Given the total NHS length of stay for these individuals, most will be able to transfer directly to the appropriate social care setting with ‘COVID-free’ status.
    1.32 A small number of people may be discharged from the NHS within the 14-day period from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms needing ongoing social care. They will have been COVID-19 tested and have confirmed COVID-positive status. Some care providers will be able to accommodate these individuals through effective isolation strategies or cohorting policies. If appropriate isolation/cohorted care is not available with a local care provider, the individual’s local authority will be asked to secure alternative appropriate accommodation and care for the remainder of the required isolation period. The government has made £1.3 billion available to support enhanced discharge from the NHS, and this funding can be drawn on for this alternative provision. We expect local authorities to work together with the NHS to put this approach into practice, in accordance with the NHS Discharge Requirements.
    1.33 For people discharged asymptomatic into a care home – these individuals will have been tested prior to admission (as per paragraph 1.30). Where these tests are negative, we still recommend isolation for 14 days. This will normally be in a care home that is able to meet that requirement, or it could be under alternative local authority made arrangements assisted by appropriate NHS primary and community-based care. The NHS Discharge Requirements will continue to apply.”

    I personally do not care if the above is a legal requirement, a rule, a guideline or, as it says itself, an action plan.

    From the number of deaths (of many thousands in care homes), it was clearly not followed.

    Why not make a noise about these unnecessary deaths. If the failures were grossly negligent or deliberate, then there is a case to bring manslaughter charges against named individuals.

    • Angela+Woolridge

      Old Person You cannot say Dominic Cummings didn’t put people at risk because he had the virus and he did not isolate and stay at home. Now according to Boris today we are expected to stay at home if a person we are in contact with has the virus but not affected! The care home deaths are a scandal but nothing to do with Dominic Cummings”s dash to Durham .

  • Deb O'Nair

    The Cummings media circus that I have been working hard to avoid is a distraction from the public approval of UKG crashing close to single figure territory. They are hanging DC out for a bit of humiliation to see if that will help – that why it’s being played out; so that they can gauge public response over the next day or two, and if that response is not positive enough then he will be sacked. If that still does not work expect to see Matt Hancock lined up next. Their biggest worry is BJ losing the support of the public before 31st December, when sane voices will be demanding and extension to the transition period for meaningful trade talks.

    • Giyane

      Deb O Nair

      The extension decision deadline is June , not December. They say three days Jonah was in the whale. Time enough for Gove and Boris to reflect on their mistakes , lies and total incompetence
      Whose idea was it anyway to do all this Hard Brexit stuff? Dominic Cummings ! Then all of a sudden they get vomited up onto dry land. Cummings gets sacked and the UK applies fo a 2 year extension to Brexit.

      Boris doesn’t actually need this bonkers hard man constantly on his case.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Craig Murray’s Barnard Castle Domminic Cummings thing supplied by N_ is total bollocks. Even I have flown to Newcastle for a few meetings…and I didn’t go anywhere near these bio terrorists..It was barely 1g at the time..but we were working on it.

    Why should he? He is probably the most hated person in England, and I saw his live stream in the garden and I believed him. He couldn’t get a childminder in London, cos everyone hates him. He is from Durham and says a little bit of what he thinks.

    I am not surprised at N_, but a little bit surprised at Craig Biting…and publicising this riduculous story, when there are far more evil things going on NOW.


    • Giyane


      Hi. Hated and loved in equal measure as regards Brexit. But we aren’t doing Brexit, are we? Were dealing with a medical emergency, in which lying, disobeying the rules, not owning up to mistakes etc, only dig the hole they are in deeper and deeper.

      Fact is, BOTH of the should resign because neither have that kind of doctor respectability and reliability that are desperately needed right now.
      Even Trump has more empathy than these two wastrels. I can’t imagine Trump jumping a red light or deliberately breaking the lockdown.

      Both of them need to resign. Their Tardis has landed in the wrong space and time.

  • minimags

    It’s interesting to find out that Dominic Cummings sits in the PMs meetings with SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for emergencies) where he is not needed specifically . He therefore has access to the conversations in which Sir Patrick Vallance is Chief Scientific Advisor whose previous employer was GlaxoSmthKline. Now there’s a connection!

  • Icy Eye

    I am a member of the public. Sometimes I walk about, sometimes even see minor celebrities and football performers, but I never feel the need to take photos of peoples number plates.

    what sort of “member of the public” are we talking about?
    Intelligence following cummings? seems unseemly, IC getting involved in domestic politics.

    or some Business Intelligence following the GSK execs and photographing their every move?

    If I was one of GSK’s competitors I would probably invest a bit of effort in sabotaging their sketchy deal making.

    • Steve

      Not even if you see them 260 miles from where they work in London and were there after the lockdown?
      How trusting you are.

      If Cummings was reported to be dead I would do a James Coburn in ‘Charade’, just to be sure.

  • Susan Greaves

    So grateful to you. I have tried in vain to get people interested in wider issues here about vaccines. The term anti-vaccine is used to close any debate, but we really must keep our common sense available to us. Dr Fauci, now lauded in the US as a saviour, has been involved for the last two decades in very dangerous research called “gain of function” in which viruses are accelerated in their evolution to produce both milder but also more virulent forms. There have been many escapees. So dangerous is this research that 200 scientists signed a petition to ask Obama in 2014 to set a moratorium on “gain of function” research. Fauci promptly moved his operations to Wuhan using American taxpayers money to fund it. I would direct those interested to read the following references. Like many scandals it is there in plain sight but our media will not touch this subject. https://armscontrolcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Escaped-Viruses-final-2-17-14-copy.pdf and https://asiatimes.com/2020/04/why-us-outsourced-bat-virus-research-to-wuhan/ and https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/14/state-department-cables-warned-safety-issues-wuhan-lab-studying-bat-coronaviruses/ I am not claiming that Covid 19 came from a lab. But I am saying it is
    plausible. Another subject that is taboo is that having a flu shot makes you more vulnerable to coronavirus. This is the subject of a paper from the Pentagon no less! https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X19313647?via%3Dihub As soon as this paper was published in Dec 2019, a huge censorship operation was launched as you will see if you google pentagon study corona virus flu shot. But my reference takes you to the paper itself so read it and judge for yourself what it concludes.!

  • George

    GSK to produce 1bn doses of coronavirus vaccine booster in 2021 – The Guardian today.

  • Mary

    Ref NHS Providers. This is the grouping representing the NHS Trusts, post the Lansley/Cameron/Clegg Health and Social Care Act 2012. I noticed that Adam Brimelow is on the board of directors as Director of Communications.. He was once a BBC operative.

    ‘Prior to joining as head of news in 2016 he was a BBC health correspondent for 14 years, working across a range of outlets including Today and World at One on radio 4, TV news bulletins and online.
    Previously Adam also worked for BBC World Service and in local radio, based in Birmingham and Manchester.’ https://nhsproviders.org/about-us/our-board/nhs-providers-board

    Just as the BBC’s and Sky’s Robert Nisbet is now the mouthpiece for the privatised rail system, ie the strangely named Rail Delivery Group..

    The multi-layered privatisation of our national industries is a joke on the British people.

  • Mary

    Sick of the name? Two more about them.

    Quarantine article by Dominic Cummings’ wife reported to regulator
    Public complain to Ipso about Mary Wakefield’s Spectator column describing ‘emerging into London lockdown’

    Dominic Cummings: More than 900,000 people sign petition demanding PM’s top aide is sacked
    900,000 signatures now.

  • David

    Perhaps the top adviser needed the a fiver of an even superior adviser before taking the actions he took

  • Mary

    Durham Police say that no action is being taken against Cummings for his breaches of the lockdown rules.

    ‘Dominic Cummings ‘may have broken lockdown rules’ – police
    5 minutes ago
    PM aide Dominic Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle “might have been minor breach” of lockdown rules, Durham Police has said. But the force said no retrospective action would be taken against the PM’s chief adviser.

    Mr Cummings has said he had acted “reasonably” and within the law after travelling 260 miles from London to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown. Number 10 said the PM now “regards this issue as closed”.


    Coronavirus: 14,000 lockdown-breach fines imposed
    Police in England and Wales have issued more than 14,000 fines for alleged breaches of lockdown laws. The figures, from 27 March to 11 May, show the most fixed penalty notices – 906 – were handed out in London, by the Metropolitan Police.

    The data covers the period before the penalty rose from £60 to £100 in England after the rules were eased. It has also been disclosed that 56 people have been wrongly charged with offences relating to the pandemic.

    The National Police Chiefs’ Council says 13,445 fines were issued by forces in England and 799 in Wales for breaches of social distancing rules brought in to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

  • John Monro

    It is speculation, but is it reasonable speculation? It would be worth asking directly for a bit more information – the trip to Barnard Castle does seem strange in the first instance, and secondly its the trip Dominic is the least forthcoming about. And the strangeness of this trip is not made less odd by Dominic’s claim it was to assess his eyesight, when standing in the street and looking at a car number plate at 25 metres should suffice. Who knows? Stuff of conspiracy theories certainly. But we live in times of conspiracy and camouflage, so it’s not surprising such theories thrive, some of them might well be true? I suppose that a good deal of the reason that Dominic Cummings is getting so much adverse attention is that this scandal has prized him out in to the open for once. No-one likes him, and most are suspicious of him and his motives and his Svengalian power over Boris – and that applies to many Tory and Brexit supporters.

    • Jan

      Many things *might* be true, but decent people don’t accuse others of wrongdoing without a shred of evidence.

  • minimags

    I made a comment last evening to say there was a connection between the chief scientific officer of sage Sir Patrick Vallance who was president of R&D at GlaxoSmithKline before his present job advising the Prime Minister and Dominic Cummings. Seemingly Dominic Cummings sat in on these meetings so he would have been privy to the conversations.

  • Linda Simon

    It was always my opinion that Dominic Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle was to secure a GSK deal with respect to Covid-19 testing and development of an anti-viral vaccine against Covid-19. Why else would a government official risk travelling the 27 miles from Durham to Barnard Castle and back??? Surely not even the maverick Dominic Cummings is capable of such risky stupidity? Or was the day out to Barnard Castle to mark his wife’s birthday?? I’ve been to Barnard Castle and it is a beautiful place to visit….but in countrywide lockdown??? No D Cummings, we don’t understand your sudden urgency to go there? ???

  • Jack iddon

    This is another load of pure imagination. The possibility of a thousand ulterior motives may filter through your ever hopeful mind but sadly for you and your fellow poison pedlars it’s pure fantasy. Sorry old thing.

  • wonky

    Corrupt and soulless bastards are leading the world over the edge.
    In times of austerity, let’s save rope and use their silk neckties instead.

  • Jo Edwards

    Hi just read this.. am wondering why newspapers have not published this info especially about the background to this company and the fact they have been given a contract despite previous fraud

  • William Chart

    My benefits go into my account this coming fryday 5th June I will gladly donate £2 month please send me the details needed to set up direct debit (my carer not here so can’t myself KEEP UP GOOD WORK WE RIGHT BEHIND YOU

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