Statement on Dominic Cummings and Coronavirus Lockdown

Thank you to everyone who has written to me in the past few days regarding the Prime Minister’s special adviser Dominic Cummings. I share the anger of local residents at Mr Cummings behaviour and the Government’s response.  Mr Cummings’ decision to travel from London to Durham while his wife had symptoms of coronavirus, and to then travel over 30 miles to visit Barnard Castle. This was clearly in breach of the guidance, which the vast majority of people across the country were following.

The lockdown restrictions have had heart-breaking consequences for many people, including 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab from Brixton whose family were unable to comfort him while he was dying in King’s College Hospital or attend his funeral; and many who have struggled to care for their children while they were ill themselves. Such sacrifices were made on the understanding that the entire country was working together and following the same instruction to stay at home. 

The Government’s continued defence of Dominic Cummings and his refusal to apologise is insulting to everyone who has made sacrifices over the past few months, putting aside their instincts to be with their loved one during the pandemic in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.

I am also alarmed that this incident has undermined the public health measures put in place to keep us all safe. It is unacceptable that we now risk an increase in coronavirus transmission as a result of the Government’s defence of Dominic Cummings. It is vital that the Government takes action to restore public trust, and prevent the large-scale abandonment of social distancing.  Notwithstanding the actions of Mr Cummings, it is important that we all continue to follow the guidance and adhere to social distancing guidelines to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus.

Keir Starmer has been clear that Boris Johnson should have sacked Mr Cummings and following his refusal to do so has contacted the Head of the Civil Service, Mark Sedwill to request a full investigation.  I will continue to hold the Government to account on this issue.