A very substantial number of constituents in Rugby and Bulkington have contacted me over the Bank Holiday weekend to ask my views on Dominic Cummings. Over the next day or so I will be responding with the following letter.
Following recent media reports about the actions taken by Mr Cummings during the lockdown, I have received a great many representations from my constituents. Many of these are from people who have not previously had a reason to contact me during the 10 years I have been Rugby and Bulkington’s Member of Parliament.
I wanted to wait until all the facts were available and to hear Mr Cummings’ account of events before drawing my own conclusions. Having listened to him on Monday, I have much sympathy with him and for the decisions he made which he believed were best for his family. However, he took those actions in the context of being in the public eye, and of being a senior advisor to the Government during a crisis which has affected all of us. On the basis of what I heard, it is clear that while he believed he was acting within the letter of the law, he did the wrong thing and acted very much against the spirit of the lockdown rules. These are rules which so many ordinary people across the country have abided by. Furthermore, he has not expressed any regret for the damage his actions have caused to the Government, or to the sense of collective effort in staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.
Many constituents have pointed out that if everyone had behaved as Mr Cummings did, the success of our lockdown policy would have been undermined. Almost every one of them has set out, sometimes in heart breaking detail, the personal sacrifices that they have made during the immensely challenging months since the coronavirus outbreak.
As such, I believe that it is wrong that Mr Cummings remains in an important post in Government. I had hoped that he would tender his resignation of his own accord. As he has failed to do so, I now believe it is right for the Prime Minister to ask for his resignation. This is a position that I have communicated to my colleagues within the Conservative Party and the Government.
It is vital that public confidence must not be undermined by this episode. We have made significant progress in reducing the R-rate and as a consequence, we are now able to relax some of the measures affecting businesses and schools, allowing them to re-open and our economy to move forward. We must not allow this to cause us to lose sight of what we have achieved as a country together.