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Bury Tory Calls for Reprimand

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 7:35am

By Joseph Tinman - Local Democracy Reporter

A Conservative MP has called for the Prime Minister’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings to be “reprimaned” for breaking lockdown rules.

But James Daly, the Conservative for Bury North, has remained silent.

This comes after a press conference at Downing Street on Monday in which Mr Cummings explained the circumstances surrounding his five-hour trip from London to self-isolate in a cottage on his father’s land in Durham in March.

Mr Cummings claimed that he needed to be closer to members of his family who offered to look after his young child in case he and his wife become too ill with coronavirus which he developed symptoms of after arriving in Durham.

But he has been accused of breaching lockdown rules by making an hour round trip in is car to “test his eyesight” before driving back to London.

Mr Wakeford said many constituents contacted him to express their views on the situation over the weekend asking him to set out his stance on the matter.

He said: “I’ll start with saying that I have never met or spoken to Dominic Cummings, and whilst I have a lot of respect for what he’s achieved I certainly have no axe to grind.

“However, this issue goes beyond politics. It is about the right behaviour and values I believe in – those values I hope I have demonstrated since being elected to serve as your MP.

“We cannot give the impression there is one rule for some and another for the rest.

“Dominic Cummings has explained his actions, and I am sure we can all sympathise with the desire of a father and husband to keep his sick family safe.

“However, the reaction to this news shows that Mr Cummings’ interpretation of the Government advice was not shared by the vast majority who have done as the Government asked often to great personal sacrifice.

“As such, based on what we have heard so far, in my view it was not appropriate to take the actions he did and they are not the actions that I myself would have taken.

“Dominic Cummings is a high-profile public figure. He may not be an MP but given his role and profile it is absolutely vital that he leads by example. Even more so when he has played a significant part in formulating the rules we have been asked follow.

“In my opinion he has broken the spirit – if not the letter – of the guidance designed to limit the spread of coronavirus. He should now have the courage to admit his judgement was questionable, and should be reprimanded.
He has undermined the essence of the government’s key “Stay at Home” messaging and has muddied the messaging moving forward when we need clarity more than ever.

“Since Saturday morning, I have expressed my thoughts and concerns on this issue known to senior figures in the government. That is the correct way to voice my views, and I will continue to do so.

“This story has become an unnecessary distraction from the key work the government is undertaking to slowly move us out of lockdown and of all of the fantastic work being performed here in Bury South by its great key workers, volunteers and residents.”

Bury North MP James Daly, who liked a tweet by the health secretary in support of Mr Cummings at the weekend, has been contacted for comment.

The Conservative group leader at Bury Council, Cllr Nick Jones, chose not to comment saying he believes it is a matter for MPs rather than councillors.

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