Dominic Cummings: Borough's MPs reveal their thoughts on lockdown controversy

The borough’s MPs have offered mixed views on the controversial Dominic Cummings lockdown debate.
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Cummings, the chief advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has faced calls for his resignation following revelations that he travelled hundreds of miles from London to his parents’ home in Durham, at the height of the Coronavirus lockdown, to seek childcare for his son.

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However, many have also defended his actions, saying Cummings had clearly explained that his actions were “within the rules”.

Dominic CummingsDominic Cummings
Dominic Cummings
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Chris Green, MP for Atherton and Bolton West, was contacted for his views but did not respond. He posted on Twitter: “The Prime Minister’s advisor comprehensively answered every question posed by the media at (Monday’s) press conference.

“He was able to clarify some misunderstandings around his stay in and transit to Durham and why it was within the rules.

“We now need to focus on the UK’s priorities.”

In her latest Wigan Observer column, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said: “People have taken the government’s rules seriously – not just the letter of them, but the spirit.

Chris Green, MP for Atherton and Bolton WestChris Green, MP for Atherton and Bolton West
Chris Green, MP for Atherton and Bolton West

“We knew that the best way to play our part in seeing off the greatest public health emergency in generations was to follow those rules. To stay home, to protect our health service and to save lives.

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She added: “I have heard from dozens of families in Wigan who found themselves in a similar position to Mr Cummings, but they took the harder – and correct – decision to stay isolated at home, because they understood the importance of sticking to the rules that we were told to follow.

“The greatest danger of Mr Cummings’s actions - and the repeated defence of him by the Prime Minister and senior members of the Cabinet - is the effect it risks having over the coming days and weeks on the continued willingness of the public to follow the lockdown rules.”

Fellow Labour MP Yvonne Fovargue, who represents Makerfield, said: “Dominic Cummings should resign and it is clear from my postbag that many of my constituents also share that view.

Wigan MP Lisa NandyWigan MP Lisa Nandy
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

“If he will not resign then the PM should sack him. This debacle is hindering the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19 and undermines Government guidance to the public.”

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Issuing an extensive response, James Grundy, the Conservative MP for Leigh, said: “Over the last few days I have received a number of emails about Dominic Cummings, both in support of his actions, and against them.

"This issue comes down to the original guidance provided as part of the “Stay at Home” lockdown measures, and the exemptions to this guidance.

"At the time Mr Cumming’s travelled to Durham, these exceptions were:

Leigh MP James GrundyLeigh MP James Grundy
Leigh MP James Grundy

1) To go shopping for essential items,

2) To go to work only if it was absolutely safe to do so and not possible to work from home, e.g. NHS staff, police officers, postal workers, etc.

3) For exercise,

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4) And for medical reasons, or for the care of vulnerable people, such as an elderly relative, or a child.

Although I understand that some will disagree with Mr Cummings’ actions, I believe that his decisions were reasonable and fell within the guidance provided at the time. I will not be calling for his resignation.

"As outlined in the press conference on Monday, Mr Cummings travelled to Durham with his wife and son and resided in another home, away from other family members. His decision to take this journey meant that in the event he and his wife were incapacitated through illness, family would be close by to care for their young child.

Makerfield MP Yvonne FovargueMakerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

"In addition, Mr Cummings made clear in his statement that the safety of his wife and child was also a consideration in the decision to self-isolate at an alternative location. Mr Cummings’ family home had been the frequent target of protests, threats, and constant media attention, with the location of his home broadcast across media outlets, which I believe no one should be subject to due to their job or political affiliation.

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"There have been claims that Mr Cummings could have sought alternative childcare near to his London home, such as leaving his child with a neighbour or alternatively handing his child to Islington Council social services in the event he or his wife were incapacitated.

"I honestly do not believe that any parent would have taken up those alternatives, or indeed, any of the other options that have been suggested.

"Many of us are lucky that we have family close by who can look after our children in the event we are unable to do so ourselves. Mr Cummings was not. I for one am glad I was not put in a position where I would have had to have made the same choices he did.”

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