MPs slam actions of Dominic Cummings on first day back in House of Commons

Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, answers questions from the media. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/P...

Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, answers questions from the media. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

As MPs returned to the House of Commons they aired their frustrations over the prime minister's top adviser Dominic Cummings.

It was the first time MPs could speak in the Commons about Cummings' trip from London to Durham, which was revealed in the press last month.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford called for Johnson's senior aide to be shown the door.

He said: 'The prime minister has destroyed his own 'stay home and save lives' message.'

Blackford added that Cummings has 'undermined efforts' to reduce the spread of coronavirus and that 'people are breaking the rules as a result'.

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He said: 'Does the secretary of state not recognise that the scandal has already undermined lockdown and could lead to more infections and even more deaths in the future?

'This is about leadership and it is about responsibility. Dominic Cummings should go, and he should go now.'

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Tory MP Craig Whittaker, a former government whip, asked if the government's Covid-19 strategy has been damaged by the Cummings affair.

He said: 'Despite couples sat together one minute, one of them taken away in an ambulance the next, not being able to see their partner in hospital, not being able to see their partner in the chapel of rest.

'If you were living in Calderdale, you couldn't even pay your last respects at the crematorium either.

'And despite grandparents not seeing newborns for 10 weeks, or indeed their grandchildren, on the whole people have made huge sacrifices to maintain the lockdown and the government's public health message.

'Can my right honourable friend advise therefore if an assessment has been done on what if any damage has been done to the government's public health message by the actions of the prime minister's special adviser?'

Health secretary Matt Hancock replied: 'The critical thing is that given the sacrifices that my honourable friend lists and that are heartfelt, that as a nation we have the resolve to see this through.

'We can see that the number of cases is coming right down, we can see that the number of people dying is coming right down and we've got to see the back of this disease.

'We are not there yet.'

Labour's Chris Bryant said there was 'absolute fury' from his constituents about Cummings.

He said: 'People think it is one rule for the government and their friends and another rule for everybody else and they have made massive, massive sacrifices and they feel that the government isn't standing by them.'

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