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Tory MPs Demand Dominic Cummings Resign Over Lockdown Row

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 24/05/2020 Rachel Wearmouth
a man standing in front of a building: Dominic Cummings, a key aide of Boris Johnson, is accused of breaking the Covid-19 lockdown twice.  © ASSOCIATED PRESS Dominic Cummings, a key aide of Boris Johnson, is accused of breaking the Covid-19 lockdown twice. 

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Tory MPs have begun to round on Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings amid accusations he twice broke the coronavirus lockdown rules. 

A string of Conservatives called for Boris Johnson to sack the senior adviser on Sunday after reports Cummings travelled to Durham a second time, while the public were still being told to “stay at home”.  

It comes after the Mirror and Guardian reported on Friday that Cummings drove from London to a family property in the city, after he had contracted coronavirus in March. 

Number 10 said the first trip was to guarantee childcare for Cummings’ four-year-old son but Cummings flatly denies he went to Durham a second time, despite witnesses saying they saw him in the town of Barnard Castle on April 19.

Asked by journalists about the issue as he left his north London home on Sunday whether he went to the north twice, Cummings said: “No, I did not.”

Number 10 appears has called the reports “completely untrue” - but Tory MPs have begun to break ranks and publicly call for Cummings’ resignation.  

Craig Whittaker, Conservative MP for Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, said Cummings’ position is “untenable”.

a man standing in front of a building: Dominic Cummings, a key aide of Boris Johnson, is accused of breaking the Covid-19 lockdown twice. © ASSOCIATED PRESS Dominic Cummings, a key aide of Boris Johnson, is accused of breaking the Covid-19 lockdown twice.

Speaking on Nigel Farage’s show on LBC, Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, said Cummings “has to go” because he broke the rules and has not apologised.

“When an adviser becomes the story, the adviser has to go,” he said. “Boris Johnson can carry on without Dominic Cummings if he goes but it will be hard if he stays.”

Former minister Caroline Nokes, chairwoman of the Commons women and equalities committee, said her inbox was “rammed with very angry constituents” and she had contact Tory whips to express her view. 

Tory MP Steve Baker, speaking on the Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, said, it was time for Dominic Cummings to go.

“If he doesn’t resign, we’ll just keep burning through Boris’s political capital at a rate we can ill afford in the midst of this crisis,” he said.

“It is very clear that Dominic travelled when everybody else understood Dominic’s slogans to mean ‘stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives’.

“And I think mums and dads who very much care about their children and who have been forgoing the childcare of their extended family will wonder why he has been allowed to do this.

“I really just don’t see, as we approach the Prime Minister (appearing) at the liaison committee on Wednesday, how this is going to go away unless Dominic goes.”

Roger Gale, the MP for North Thanet, said Cummings had “sent out completely the wrong message” and should go.

Damian Collins, the Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, said in a tweet said Cummings had “a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him” and that “the government would be better without him”. 

The Labour Party, meanwhile, has said that Boris Johnson should lead Sunday’s coronavirus press conference. 

Shadow policing minister Sarah Jones told Sky News the public deserve an explanation.

She said: “People are feeling, rightly, angry. People have put their lives on hold, have made huge sacrifices to obey the rules during this period and we have seen the heartbreak of people not being able to attend funerals of loved ones, not being able to see their family members as they go out and I think people are rightly feeling: is it one rule for us and one rule for the people at the top?

“The prime minister I think needs to come to the press conference today and answer questions about what happened and what he’s going to do about it.” 

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