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Dominic Cummings


29th May 2020

Coronavirus is the biggest challenge the UK has faced in decades – and we are not alone. All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this disease.

That’s why the Government has put in place strict social distancing – to slow the spread of the virus so the NHS would not be overwhelmed, and lives could be saved. And thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the British people, and despite a tragic loss of life, the UK has slowed the spread of Coronavirus.

The latest Government guidance sets out that everyone must continue to stay at home unless necessary for specific reasons, namely, for work where you cannot work from home, to go to the shops that are open, to exercise or spend time outdoors for recreation, and for any medical need, including to provide care for another. At this stage, as per the guidance, you cannot go to another person’s home to visit, unless there is a specific medical need.

From Monday up to six people will be able to meet outside, including gardens and other private outdoor spaces - provided those from different households continue strictly to observe social distancing rules by staying two metres apart.

My personal view has always been, and remains, that we should all keep to the rules to slow the spread of the virus. To that end, I have been particularly careful to maintain social distancing and not to make unnecessary trips.

On the specifics of Dominic Cummings, I am aware of the allegations against him and I saw his account of events that he gave via interview on Monday, but before now I did not feel able to comment on all the circumstances of what happened and its implications before the conclusion of the investigation by Durham Police.

To that extent, I have waited for the outcome of that investigation before making comment on this matter on the basis that it serves no interest to publicly decry an individual based upon media reports alone.

I understand that Durham Police have now concluded that Mr Cummings did not commit any offences and did not breach social distancing rules; although his trip to Barnard Castle from his address in Durham may have constituted a ‘minor breach of the regulations’. Durham Police further state, ‘there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public’.

It is clear already that many earlier statements made by politicians and others have been found to be incorrect once further information has come to light. I have therefore taken the time to wait for all the information before reaching a considered view. Instant reactions based upon unfounded media reports are rarely helpful in issues pertaining to public life.

However, having now had the opportunity to consider all aspects of this situation I agree that Mr Cummings made a mistake in taking the course of action that he did and that should be acknowledged. Mistakes are often made worse by what happens next and in this case I believe that Mr Cummings should have recognised the strength of feeling and offered an apology.

I know from reading the hundreds of emails I have received from constituents that many people are incredibly angry and upset about this issue. I too am disappointed at what is an unwelcome and unnecessary distraction at a time that we should, as a country, be united in our fight against Coronavirus. At the present time, I should be working with my constituents, with local councils, businesses and schools planning for the easing of lockdown - to ensure we get it right and remain protected. Instead, my team and I have spent many days dealing with the reaction to the conduct of Mr Cummings.

It is important that constituents can raise their concerns with me as their Member of Parliament. However, I believe I have now offered a factual and reasonable response on this matter and, beyond responding to all those who have written to me, I do not intend to divert time from the other important issues being raised by constituents to debate this matter in further detail. Prior to this I was already receiving hundreds of emails and letters from constituents every day and moving forward I wish to focus on this important casework.

Mr Cummings is not employed by the Conservative Party or by Conservative MPs, and the future of his employment is therefore a matter for the Prime Minister. Please be assured that I have passed on to the Prime Minister both my own views and the sentiments of the correspondence I have received from constituents.

Jonathan Djanogly MP



Coronavirus (COVID-19)

For the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus pandemic visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

For the latest medical advice visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

 

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