Labour calls on Boris Johnson to ‘take responsibility’ over Dominic Cummings

PUBLISHED: 09:46 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:46 27 May 2020

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy (L) and Boris Johnson. Nandy called on the prime minister to 'take responsibility' over Dominic Cummings; RSA, PA Media

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy (L) and Boris Johnson. Nandy called on the prime minister to 'take responsibility' over Dominic Cummings; RSA, PA Media

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Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has called on Boris Johnson to take responsibility over the Dominic Cummings saga, telling the prime minister it was a matter of public confidence.

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Appearing on BBC breakfast, Nandy said Johnson should explain why his top advisor’s trip to Durham from London was “so unique” that it did not warrant a resignation despite certain lockdown rules being violated.

Cummings took the 270-mile trip in March to get childcare support from his family in Durham while ill with the virus. The Vote Leave mastermind then made a 30 mile journey to Barnard Castle in order to test his “eyesight” which was apparently impaired by Covid-19.

“The prime minister has got to take responsibility for this now,” Nandy told viewers.

“He’s got to decide whether he can actually account for why that situation was so unique that the rules had to be broken, and if he can’t, then I think it’s right that he should take action to restore public confidence.

“At the moment, we’ve got a situation where both the prime minister and his own adviser are just refusing to resign or to sack him, and also refusing to answer basic questions.

“That’s just not sustainable. Something has got to change and it’s got to change very, very quickly if the public are going to have confidence.”

Nandy went on to say that supporting Cummings had become “unsustainable” for the government.

“I think there’s a very serious underlying point about this, which is that Dominic Cummings was one of the advisors who actually wrote those rules, who helped the government put those rules into law,” she said.

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“What that guidance and those rules do is they ask families to take some very difficult personal decisions for the greater good.

“A couple, for example, in my constituency (Wigan), both of whom are frontline workers, both of whom contracted Covid and have young children, made a very difficult decision just to try and manage and not calling grandparents for help.

“That was a very, very hard thing for them to do. They worried about the welfare of their children and right across the country we’ve seen families having to make those very, very difficult decisions.

“Yet the prime minister’s own advisor seems to be allowed to take the opposite approach. That really is unsustainable.”

Communities minister Robert Jenrick, who also appeared on the show, defended Cummings saying it was time to “move on” from the controversy.

“He [Dominic Cummings] has given his explanation to the prime minister, who listened and concluded that he’d acted reasonably and legally,” he said.

“The prime minister then asked him to give that statement on Monday to the public and to answer questions from journalists, he answered them for over an hour and now, I think, is the time for us all to move on.

Jenrick said Cummings’ trip was “reasonable” but agreed the matter was an “important issue”. He then said the Brexiteer should not resign.

“My view is that now we accept that and we move on because there are many, many more important issues that we need to be talking about,” he said.

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