Dominic Cummings' lockdown trip: what critical Tory MPs say

Critics of PM’s chief aide range from former ministers to some of party’s latest intake

Scores of Conservative MPs have criticised Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham during lockdown. Here is what some have said:

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North, Cabinet Office minister and former defence secretary: “Despite Mr Cummings’ statement, I am personally still not clear of the facts. There are some inconsistencies in his account of events and the reasons behind it.”

Sajid Javid, Bromsgrove, former chancellor: “I do not believe Mr Cummings’ journey to County Durham to isolate on his family’s estate was necessary or justified. I remain unconvinced his visit to Barnard Castle could be considered reasonable. I was also deeply concerned by his decision to return to Downing Street directly after coming into contact with a family member who was ill, potentially with coronavirus.”

Douglas Ross, Moray, who resigned as a Scotland Office minister: “I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government. I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”

Jeremy Wright, Kenilworth and Southam, former attorney general: “Mr Cummings’ actions and his justification of them will, in my judgment, make it less likely that others will continue to interpret those exceptional circumstances clauses restrictively. This is more important than the position of any individual in Downing Street and therefore, fairly or unfairly, I have concluded that it would be better for Mr Cummings to leave his position at Downing Street.”

Karen Bradley, Staffordshire Moorlands, former culture secretary: “I am afraid that I am not convinced by his explanation. I can well understand that any parent wants to protect their child, and have enormous sympathy with acting to do that. But so much of the account goes beyond that simple human instinct and suggests that there were breaches of the rules to avoid some of the hardships that many have endured … Mr Cummings is, in my view, causing significant damage to the work that the government are doing to get us through the pandemic. I hope that he will recognise this and consider his position.”

Stephen Crabb, Preseli Pembrokeshire, former work and pensions secretary: “I thought Dominic Cummings was wrong to arrogantly brush away the allegations when they first appeared. He just made matters worse. People have got every right to ask what on earth he was doing in Durham and Barnard Castle during lockdown. I would have preferred to see the cabinet secretary do a proper inquiry into the allegations and for Cummings to step aside to allow that to happen.”

Esther McVey, Tatton, former work and pensions secretary: “Whilst the future of Dominic Cummings is a matter for him and the prime minister, had I been in the same situation, I would have resigned my position.”

George Freeman, Mid-Norfolk, former science minister: “After 48 hours and c1,000 emails from constituents expressing outage at the PM’s chief of staff breaking the lockdown and not apologising, it’s clear that public anger at the betrayal of their trust and compliance now risks a collapse of respect for HMG public health advice.”

Richard Graham, Gloucester, Conservative MP: “In any crisis, nations need to believe in their leadership, and in a democracy emergency guidelines can only be enforced by consensus, which comes from trust in the message. That trust can be damaged if there’s a perception that some around the leaders are not expected to show the same commitment to the rules as the rest of us. Mr Cummings’ actions at that time fail that simple yardstick, even if there is no legal case.”

Cherilyn Mackrory, MP for Truro and Falmouth, 2019 intake: “As a wife and a mum, I do understand what Mr Cummings was trying to achieve by safeguarding his family. However, by making that journey, by taking that course of action, it may have endangered many, many more. What Mr Cummings did may not have been illegal, but it did go against clear government advice, the government advice that you and I, and the rest of the country, took at face value.

Contributor

Rowena Mason Deputy political editor

The GuardianTramp

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