Dominic Cummings crisis: Government minister RESIGNS over Durham row – Boris under fire
Douglas Ross, a junior minister in the Scotland office, said he had “trouble” with the position of Dominic Cummings alleged breach of lockdown rules, which prompted his decision to resign as a Government Minister. Mr Ross said the prime minister’s senior adviser’s explanation of why he travelled during the coronavirus lockdown was based on decisions “others felt were not available to them”.
Mr Ross, the Under Secretary of State for Scotland, said he could not “in good faith” tell his constituents who could not care for sick relatives or say goodbye to dying ones while obeying lockdown rules that Mr Cummings acted appropriately.
The first resignation over the allegations rocking the Government came as Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove sought to defend his longstanding ally.
Mr Ross said that “while the intentions may have been well-meaning”, Mr Cummings’ interpretation of the rules was “not shared by the vast majority of people”.
Douglas Ross has resigned
In a letter posted on his Twitter account, the Tory MP for Moray wrote: “I have just tendered my resignation from the UK Government and my position as Under Secretary of State for Scotland. Following my re-election as MP for Moray last December, I was honoured to be asked by the Prime Minister to join his Government and take on this role in the Scotland Office.
“It is a position I have relished and one I’ve committed to wholeheartedly since my appointment. There was much I still hoped to do in this role but events over the last few days mean I can no longer serve as a member of this Government.
“I have never met Dominic Cummings so my judgment on this matter has always been open and I accept his statement on Monday afternoon clarified the actions he took in what he felt were the best interests of his family. However, these were decisions many others felt were not available to them.
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“As a father myself, my instinct is to always do what is best for my son and wife. We have been fortunate not to have caught this awful virus but, if we did, we are prepared to follow the government advice and stay at home to contain this virus.
“While the intentions may have been well-meaning, the reaction to this news shows that Mr Cummings’ interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the Government asked”I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the Government.
“I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the Government was right.
“This is not a decision I have reached quickly. I have waited to hear all of the information and thought long and hard over this.
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“I realise both the immediate and long-term implications of my decision to resign from Government.
“While it has been a great privilege to serve as a minister, my first duty is to be a representative and I feel I can best represent my Moray constituents and many across the country who have expressed their feelings about this by resigning as a minister.
“I look forward to continuing to stand up for the people of Moray from the back benches.”
Mr Cummings has sought to defend his decision to drive to County Durham despite the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, saying he believes he behaved “reasonably” and does not regret his actions.
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In a press conference in the rose garden of 10 Downing Street, Mr Cummings said he made the journey because of fears over a lack of childcare if he became incapacitated with the virus, and concerns about his family’s safety.
Mr Cummings declined to apologise for his actions but conceded “reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in the circumstances”.
It comes as opposition leaders prepare to meet on Tuesday morning to consider what the “next steps” on Mr Cummings will be.
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford reiterated his call for the Prime Minister’s chief adviser to resign over his trip to County Durham in March, saying he had written to Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill calling for an investigation into Mr Cummings’s actions.
Published at Tue, 26 May 2020 08:35:00 +0000