WARRINGTON’S two MPs have responded to concerns from their constituents regarding the row over the prime minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings driving 260 miles from London during the coronavirus lockdown.
Warrington South MP Andy Carter (Con) and Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols (Lab), were responding after being contacted by concerned constituents after Mr Cummings was accused of breaking lockdown rules, to take his family to County Durham, after his wife developed Covid-19 symptoms.
Mr Cummings, who said in his statement that he had no regrets, said he believed he had acted “reasonably” and within the law.
While saying he was disappointed and annoyed the whole matter hadn’t been dealt with differently, Mr Carter believes it is now time to “draw a line under this episode and move on,” while Ms Nichols believes that Mr Cummings “has to go” saying he had shown a “total contempt for the public.”
Mr Cater said: “I’m very grateful to everyone who has contacted me over the last 48 hours with their views on Dominic Cummings. I’ve spent time today raising these concerns with Government and asking for an explanation.
“It’s disappointing that this afternoon’s statement from Mr Cummings didn’t take place 48 hours ago. Like many, I’ve been pretty annoyed about the whole thing, indeed we could have avoided a lot of speculation, upset and concern were things handled differently.
“I want to be very clear; I believe people should follow the rules of the lockdown, as the overwhelming majority of people in Warrington have done for the last 10 weeks.
“The rules are there for our collective benefit at an unprecedented time. I’ve spoken to hundreds of people over the last few weeks and I recognise the immense sacrifice and stress they have imposed on all of us, and all our families.
“Having listened to Mr Cummings’ statement, we now know why he took the decisions he did. Were I in his position, I may not have made the same decisions, but he has clearly done so in the interests of his family and those around him.
“Many people have also been in touch to share their anger at the way the press were flouting the social distancing rules outside Mr Cumming’s home yesterday. It gives a little insight into the world in which people in the media eye have to live, it perhaps gives some context to the decisions he took.
“I want the Government to focus on tackling the virus and getting our economy back up and running. My efforts are focused on continuing to help those in Warrington South who need support. We must draw a line under this episode and move on.
Meanwhile Ms Nichols said: “I don’t see that Dominic Cummings circumstances are any more exceptional than the constituents who have emailed me about how they have had to manage. This is the largest volume of emails I have had on a single issue since becoming an MP, with the strength of feeling very clear, in no uncertain terms, that Cummings has to go.
“I think it shows how weak the Prime Minister is that he would rather fatally undermine the lockdown guidance than to act decisively in sacking him days ago. This whole saga has been avoidable.
She added: “His statement seems to suggest a number of additional breaches of the law, alongside a truly bizarre justification of his trip to Barnard Castle as being to test his eyesight. These kinds of excuses and leaving everyone waiting for half an hour to make them in the first place, just demonstrates total contempt for the public.”