View from Westminster: It is vital the government restores public trust after the Dominic Cummings scandal

News Desk (05 June, 2020)

'It is important that we all continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines to prevent a second wave of infections'

36601Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood

Like MPs across the country I have been contacted by hundreds of local residents in the past fortnight regarding the prime minister’s special adviser Dominic Cummings, writes Helen Hayes…

I share the anger of so many of my constituents at Mr Cummings’ behaviour and the government’s response to Mr Cummings’ decision to travel from London to Durham while his wife had symptoms of coronavirus, and to then travel over 30 miles to visit Barnard Castle. This was clearly in breach of the guidance, which the vast majority of people across the country were following.

The lockdown restrictions have had heart-breaking consequences for many people, including thirteen-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab whose family were unable to comfort him while he was dying in King’s College Hospital or attend his funeral; and many who have struggled to care for their children while they were ill themselves. Such sacrifices were made on the understanding that the entire country was working together and following the same instruction to stay at home.

The government’s continued defence of Dominic Cummings and his refusal to apologise is insulting to everyone who has made sacrifices over the past few months, putting aside their instincts to be with their loved one during the pandemic in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.

I am also alarmed that this incident has undermined the public health measures put in place to keep us all safe. At the same time as the prime minister’s most senior adviser is refusing to apologise for breaking the rules, staff in our local hospitals are still receiving new admissions of new patients who are very sick with coronavirus, and people are still dying every day from this disease. It is unacceptable that we now risk an increase in coronavirus transmission as a result of the government’s defence of Dominic Cummings.

It is vital that the government takes action to restore public trust and prevent the large-scale abandonment of social distancing. Notwithstanding the actions of Mr Cummings, coronavirus is still present in our communities and it is important that we all continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines to prevent a second wave of infections.

Keir Starmer has been clear that Boris Johnson should have sacked Mr Cummings and following his refusal to do so has contacted the head of the civil service to request a full investigation.

Please stay safe as you enjoy this beautiful weather. I will continue to work hard hold the government to account on this issue.

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