Dominic Cummings statement – MPs react after PM’s top aide speaks over 260-mile lockdown trip – The Sun

DOMINIC Cummings' statement this evening has provoked a huge range of reaction among Tory MPs – with some slamming the top aide for breaking lockdown rules to drive to Durham.

But others in the cabinet and on the back benches have leapt to Mr Cummings' defence, insisting he acted "reasonably and legally" during a tense day in Westminster.

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Mr Cummings has been accused of ignoring strict government advice by driving 260 miles with his virus-stricken wife, Mary Wakefield, from London to self-isolate at his parents' farm near Durham at the end of March.

But the top aide told reporters this evening that he believed he was acting "reasonably" and within the law, and did not regret his actions despite calls for his resignation.

At least 15 Conservative backbenchers have now called for Mr Cummings to go, while several others have spoken out against his actions.

Newly elected MPs including Elliot Colburn, Paul Holmes and Jonathan Gullis have said they have "conveyed the strength of local feeling to relevant colleagues" after being contacted by constituents.

Conservative former minister Paul Maynard also said that he shared people's "dismay" at the PM's response, and was one of many MPs who insisted Mr Cummings should quit or be sacked.

He said: "It is a classic case of 'do as I say, not as I do' – and it is not as if he was unfamiliar with guidance he himself helped draw up".

Caroline Nokes MP for Romsey and Southampton North added that "there cannot be one rule for most of us and wriggle room for others".

And another minister told The Sun last night that Cummings "cannot stay".

They said: "Cummings is going to burn us all. He cannot stay.

“This is not a bubble story. Real people are furious, because they have been doing the right thing and isolating.”


But other backbenchers and senior cabinet ministers have come out in support of Mr Cummings and the Prime Minister – claiming that the fiasco was draining vital political energy in Westminster that should be devoted to the pandemic.

Following the aide's public statement, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote this evening: "Dominic Cummings gave a detailed account of his actions and how he followed the rules applicable to his family.

"Meanwhile, Cabinet met today and was totally focused on tackling C19 & moving the country forward."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: "Dom Cummings was right today to set out in full detail how he made his decisions in very difficult circumstances.

"Now we must move on, fight this dreadful disease and get our country back on her feet."

Now we must move on, fight this dreadful disease and get our country back on her feet

Other MPs on the back benches also alleged that the media had whipped up a frenzy.

In a post on his Facebook page, the MP for Ashfield Lee Anderson, in Nottinghamshire, wrote: "I will not accept trial by media when a person's whole future is at stake. The reaction of the press outside his home and some online comments have quite frankly disgusted me.

"I have been on the receiving end from the media in the past and it has an awful impact on members of your family."

This sentiment was repeated by Mark Spencer, MP for Sherwood, who added: "A full, frank, honest and open statement from Dominic Cummings.

"He acted as a father and husband, within the rules.

"Time to move on and focus on solving this massive national challenge of Covid19."

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Brits can hit the high streets again from next week as he set out his plans for the staged reopening of shops in England at his Downing Street press conference.

The Prime Minister has said Britain is heading into "step two" of his plan to get the country moving again.

The UK will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month.

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