MPs in Hampshire have spoken out after Dominic Cummings made two trips across the country during the coronavirus lockdown. Prime minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser claims not to regret driving 260 miles from London to Durham during the lockdown, despite this being against stringent government regulations. His recent actions have attracted criticism from across the political board.
Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton, has stated:
Dominic Cummings took a course of action that not only wasn’t available to the vast majority of people struggling with restrictions but which broke the lockdown rules and undermined the government’s message of Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives… I found that the press conference was unconvincing and raised more questions than it answered about Cummings’ transgressions and by any normal reckoning his position would be untenable. Instead, the message from this Government seemed clear: it’s one rule for Boris Johnson’s closest adviser, another for everybody else.
Paul Holmes, the MP for Eastleigh, has said:
I have been contacted by a large number of constituents on this matter. Many people have legitimate concerns about what has gone on, and so do I. These concerns have been strongly communicated to the Government over the weekend… Though I believe his actions were motivated solely by the desire to protect his family, I believe that Mr Cummings has made errors of judgement, and I would have responded differently given the guidance that Government has issued… Sadly, I do think that this situation has undermined the wider messaging around this public health emergency. However, the fact remains that we need to continue to follow the health advice to keep people safe.
Caroline Nokes, the Tory MP for Romsey, has publicly criticised Mr Cummings for breaking social distancing guidelines. In a social media post, she said:
There cannot be one rule for most of us and wiggle room for others… I made my views clear to my whip yesterday. There cannot be one rule for most of us and wriggle room for others. My inbox is rammed with very angry constituents and I do not blame them. They have made difficult sacrifices over the last nine weeks.
Cummings, 48, made two trips to County Durham, where his family lives, despite social restrictions being in place to stop the spread of coronavirus. Since then, the Prime Minister has offered his ‘full support’ to his chief adviser, along with several other members of government including Health Secretary Matt Hancock.