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‘We must not be distracted by minor issues’: What do Havering MPs think of Cummings’ lockdown trip?

PUBLISHED: 15:55 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 29 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aide Dominic Cummings leaves his north London home. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aide Dominic Cummings leaves his north London home. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Opinion is divided among Havering’s MPs and residents as to whether Dominic Cummings was right to travel to Durham with his family during the coronavirus lockdown.

Boris Johnson’s aide gave his side of the story in a press conference yesterday (Monday, May 25) where he revealed his reasoning behind driving his wife and four-year-old son to stay in a cottage on his parents’ farm. He claimed he and his wife had both felt ill with coronavirus symptoms and that relatives had offered to look after their child if the couple became too sick to do so.

Dagenham and Rainham’s Jon Cruddas, who represents Labour, is “astounded” at ministers defending the senior government adviser while Conservative MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell has said he should be left “to get on with the job.”

In a lengthy statement, Mr Rosindell concluded that “we must not distracted by minor issues and focus on the long term interests of our nation,” after justifying his defence for Mr Cummings.

He said: “I completely agree that it is essential all government ministers and advisers follow lockdown guidelines, just like the rest of us have to do.

“However, having listened to his entire personal statement and explanation yesterday, my understanding is that the decision by Mr Cummings to travel to his parent’s home was to ensure his young child could be properly cared for by members of his family as both he and his wife were sick, and was within government guidelines as set out before he travelled.

“These [guidelines] specifically allowed people to leave their home in order ‘to provide care or help a vulnerable person’”.

He continued: “My view is simple, if Mr Cummings has broken the law, he should resign, but if he has not done so, now that he is back to good health again, I think we should let him get on with the job of working with Boris Johnson to get our country through this crisis and then our economy back on track.”
Mr Cruddas disagreed, saying: “There cannot be one rule for Dominic Cummings and another for the British people.

“The public deserve better than this and I find it astounding that government ministers have stepped forward to defend the actions of an adviser, one who is quite clearly in the wrong.

“This move undermines the British government and flies in the face of stringent guidelines put in place for the safety of our nation.

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“I have received scores of emails from my constituents, all furious with the situation – many not able to visit relatives on the next street whilst Mr Cummings travels up and down the country.”

Mr Rosindell said that he also received many emails from concerned constituents over the issue and that he would be forwarding them all onto the prime minister so that he is “aware how strongly some people feel about this matter.”

Conservative MP for Hornchurch and Upminster, Julia Lopez has been approached for comment.

On asking readers to comment on the weekend’s events, the Recorder found both sympathy for Cummings as well as support for his resignation.

Lily Crosby said: “He has been working with the government for weeks trying to sort things out during this hard time for everyone. This is how we thank him: One slip and you’re out.”☹️

Charlotte Crisp said: “I would have done the same. This is a witch hunt and there are more important things for people to be worrying about.”

Liana Richards said: “His story doesn’t add up. One rule for him, one for the rest of us. [He] makes a mockery of the sacrifices so many have made.

“He has to go and the government must be held to account for the fact we now have the highest rate of coronavirus deaths per million in the world!”

David Hughes agreed, saying: “He broke the rules that the rest of us abided by to save lives. Doctors and nurses who actually were saving lives abided by those rules.”

“It is utterly indefensible but what’s worse, when far better people have resigned for less regarding this issue, is the utter contempt he and Johnson have for us.”

“What’s even worse is the witless, craven and servile attitude of those that seek to defend this entitled, morally reprehensible elitist.”


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