‘Defending the indefensible’: Southwark MPs slam PM’s support of Dominic Cummings

Katherine Johnston (25 May, 2020)

'An apology would have been enough two days ago but he's too arrogant' - Neil Coyle, on Cummings

35482Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference in March

Politicians in Southwark have joined calls for the prime minister to stop defending his chief adviser Dominic Cummings after it emerged he had travelled from London to Durham during lockdown.

It has also been alleged he was spotted out and about at a nearby beauty spot while the family were supposed to be self-isolating as a result of having COVID-19 symptoms.

At Sunday’s daily Coronavirus press conference, Boris Johnson defended his actions saying he had made the decision ‘as a father’, who had ‘no alternative’ and in every sense had acted ‘responsibly, legally, and with integrity’.

The fallout from the weekend’s revelations continues, with top government advisers saying the pair have undone much of the hard work put into getting widespread support and compliance with the lockdown.

Bermondsey MP Neil Coyle said: “So many did as they were asked and denied themselves access to loved ones even in end-of-life circumstances.

“An apology would have been enough two days ago but he’s too arrogant.”

He also took aim at the few Tory MPs to come out in support of Cummings, including health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, who claimed it was ‘entirely right’ for him to travel for childcare.

Harriet Harman said the government should ‘show empathy for lockdown heartbreak not defiance’, saying she’d had a ‘deluge’ of emails from appalled constituents.

“A daughter lost her baby but her mother couldn’t go to comfort her. A child missing her Nana but might never see her again as she has terminal cancer,” she tweeted.

She also shared a video message by Labour leader Keir Starmer saying if he were PM he’d have sacked Cummings.

Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes said her team made numerous enquiries with Public Health England on behalf of her constituents who were in various ‘difficult circumstances’ during the lockdown.

“The advice was always not to travel,” she explained. “Boris Johnson was defending the indefensible.”

Yesterday Labour leader Keir Starmer said Johnson had ‘treated the British people with contempt’.

Southwark Liberal Democrat leader, Anood Al-Samerai, and Cllr Humaira Ali – the party’s Bermondsey and Old Southwark general election candidate in December’s election – both shared their dismay.

Cummings is expected to make a public statement this afternoon.

Contribute
John Davies says:

The 2 faced hypocrisy of our Labour MPs is sickening and staggering. Not defending Cummins, but how can they go so over the top in false rage when they did not utter a word when two Labour MPs did the same thing recently. Stephen Kinnock MP drove over 200 miles to wish his dad happy birthday, and Tahir Ali MP attended a funeral that had several hundred mourners there. How 2 faced can Labour get.

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