Over the last few days I have received hundreds of emails and messages from constituents regarding the media reports about Dominic Cummings. I think it is important to say that not everyone was calling for Mr Cummings’ resignation. I wanted to share my thoughts here.
I know that during the Covid-19 crisis most of us have adhered to the lockdown rules and guidelines and have made enormous sacrifices.
I am clear that the rules apply to everyone equally - no exceptions. I, therefore, can appreciate the feeling of anger many people who have written to me have expressed.
My family and I have been affected by the lockdown like every family in this country. I have not seen my parents since February, and I worry my dad who lives with dementia may not recognise me when I do eventually see him again. My children are online schooling and their education – and social lives – have been adversely impacted like everyone’s children. My daughter has not taken her GCSEs as planned this Spring. I know I am not alone - many of my constituents are juggling childcare, financial concerns and worries about older family members. We have all had to make sacrifices during this period and I am so proud of how our nation has come together during these unprecedented times. I continue to pay tribute to our key workers who have continued to provide support and help to those in need.
I think that it is very important to strip bare the facts around the Cummings case. Taking the name out of the equation let’s look at the facts:
A middle-aged couple with a four-year-old little boy decide that when the woman displays some of the symptoms of Covid-19 and believe that the man has been exposed to the virus through his workplace and will soon show symptoms, are concerned about how they will care for their son. The man has family who is fortunate enough to have three properties in the same grounds which means the couple can self isolate but know they have family members who can take care of the son if they become so ill that they can’t look after him. They check the Government guidelines and reassure themselves that they can travel to their family in order to secure care for a vulnerable child. The man clearly believes his actions are in the best interests of his family at the time.
I have never met Dominic Cummings and I have been astounded by elements of the media’s obsession with him.
This weekend’s coverage has been the epitome of that obsession and has in my opinion been completely over the top and at times I felt it was trial by media. Whoever this man is and yes, he has a very influential role within Government, no one I believe deserves to be subjected to the harassment that he and his family have endured over the last 10 months. The media being constantly camped outside his home, having a van with a large digital screen playing a video in his street and Opposition MPs encouraging people to protest are all completely over the top and unacceptable. This is following many months of harassment and critical comment both in person and online. I do feel that much of the anti-feelings for this man is generated by those who will never forgive him for the role he played in the Brexit campaign. And I say that as someone who voted Remain.
Mr Cummings has now provided a full outline of the actions and the reasons for the actions taken by him and his wife. Obviously, there will be many people who feel his actions were unacceptable and others who believe what he did was perfectly reasonable and understandable in the circumstances.
I hope we can now put this behind us and allow the Government to tackle the huge challenges we still must deal with. This weekend has been a detraction from that. We must continue to fight this dreadful disease, prepare for the lifting of lockdown, and start to rebuild our economy.
I have informed the Prime Minister on the strength of public feeling on this matter and my own views.
I remain focused on the issues facing local people and businesses across the Cities of London & Westminster.