Conservative MPs call on Boris Johnson to sack Dominic Cummings

24 May 2020, 08:44

Dominic Cumming is facing calls to resign
Dominic Cumming is facing calls to resign. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Several Conservative MPs have called on Boris Johnson to sack Dominic Cummings over his alleged breach of lockdown rules.

Steve Baker, a prominent member of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, was the first to do so, tweeting that Boris Johnson's top adviser "must go".

He said: "It is intolerable that Boris' government is losing so much political capital. Three changes are immediately required: 1 - Govt needs competitive expert advice 2 - Govt must insist on high software engineering standards 3 - Dominic Cummings must go."

Writing in The Critic on Sunday, Mr Baker has now said Mr Cummings must be fired over the alleged breach.

He said: "Dominic Cummings must go before he does any more harm to the UK, the Government, the Prime Minister, our institutions or the Conservative Party."

"Time is up. It is time for Dom to resign so Boris can govern within the conventions and norms which will see us through."

Speaking on LBC, Mr Baker told Andrew Castle that he has support pouring in from several wings of the party over his assertion that Dominic Cummings should be sacked.

He continued: "Despite the support pouring in, I would be amazed if no members of the Cabinet think Dominic Cummings should go."

Steve Baker MP
Steve Baker MP. Picture: PA

He also said allegations of a further breach in the Sunday papers were a "disaster" and Mr Cummings "clearly broke at the very least the guidance which kept mums and dads at home".

Speaking on Sky News on Sunday, Mr Baker said: "No one is indispensable, Dominic should go."

Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough, told Nigel Farage on LBC that Dominic Cummings has to go as he broke the rules and has not apologised.

He said: "When an advisor becomes the story, the advisor has to go.

"Boris Johnson can carry on without Dominic Cummings if he goes but it will be hard if he stays."

Simon Hoare MP also tweeted that Cumming's should resign, saying: "With the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the Government’s reputation he must consider his position. Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone.

"It’s his cavalier “I don’t care; I’m cleverer than you” tone that infuriates people. He is now wounding the PM/Govt & I don’t like that."

Sir Roger Gale MP tweeted: "While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings’ desire to protect his child. There cannot be one law for the Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone else.

"He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable."

Tory MP Damian Collins, tweeted: "Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt.

"The government would be better without him."

Another Conservative MP, Simon Hoare, tweeted: "With the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the Government's reputation he must consider his position.

"Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. It's his cavalier 'I don't care; I'm cleverer than you' tone that infuriates people.

"He is now wounding the PM/Govt & I don't like that."

Craig Whitaker MP said: "I totally agree that Dominic Cummings position is untenable.

"I'm sure he took the decision in the best interests of his family but like every decision we take we also have to take responsibility for those decisions. You cannot advise the nation one thing then do the opposite."

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, chairwoman of the Commons women and equalities committee, said she has informed her party whips there could not be "wriggle room" for some people when it comes to lockdown rules.

The former immigration minister tweeted: "I made my views clear to my whip yesterday. There cannot be one rule for most of us and wriggle room for others.

"My inbox is rammed with very angry constituents and I do not blame them. They have made difficult sacrifices over the course of the last nine weeks."

Conservative MP Robert Halfon has apologised for tweeting his support of Mr Cummings on Saturday and said the PM's aide should "face the consequences of breaking the law".

In a statement on his Facebook page, the MP for Harlow said: "I would first like to make it clear to residents that I regret writing the tweet yesterday in the way I did about the Number 10 political adviser and his movements.

"I am really sorry for it. I do not support or condone anyone who has broken the law or regulations. Anyone who has done so should face the consequences."

In his tweet, Mr Halfon wrote: "Ill couple drive 260+ miles to ensure that their small child can be looked after properly. In some quarters this is regarded as crime of the century. Is this really the kind of country we are?"

His statement on Sunday said: "The tweet was wrong because many thousands of people in Harlow and across the country have suffered and struggled enormously during the coronavirus.

"It has caused significant pain and hardship. My tweet did not recognise that. I am sorry.

"My original tweet was aimed at the four-year-old child because I thought at the time that both parents had been ill with coronavirus, genuinely had no one to look after the infant - and for this reason had taken the child to their extended family to be looked after.

"I thought that to do this was within the regulations."

It follows claims that Dominic Cummings ignored coronavirus lockdown measures "for a second time".

The government adviser was reportedly seen on 12 April visiting a town 30 miles away from where he was staying in Durham, according to a joint investigation by the Mirror and the Guardian.

A week later he was spotted in Durham once again, walking with his wife in Houghal Woods just outside the city centre, despite having been seen in London just a few days before.

This suggests the senior adviser made multiple trips to and from the North East, despite the government's advice at the time being that people should stay at home to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Dominic Cummings was seen leaving his home in north London on Sunday with his wife and son shortly after 11am.

After one journalist asked if he had returned to Durham in April, Mr Cummings said: "No, I did not."

Mr Cummings, who was wearing a lanyard with an ID card, was carrying a note pad and what appeared to be a black bin bag.

The family then got in the car and drove away.

In response to the second set of claims in the Mirror and Observer, a No 10 spokeswoman said: "Yesterday the Mirror and Guardian wrote inaccurate stories about Mr Cummings.

"Today they are writing more inaccurate stories including claims that Mr Cummings returned to Durham after returning to work in Downing Street on 14 April.

"We will not waste our time answering a stream of false allegations about Mr Cummings from campaigning newspapers."

Grant Shapps has defended Dominic Cummings
Grant Shapps has defended Dominic Cummings. Picture: PA

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has reiterated that Mr Cummings stayed put after travelling to Durham.

He told the Sophy Ridge show: "I don't have all the times and dates for you but I understand he will have travelled up there towards the end of March and stayed there, remained there for 14 days, didn't leave the property and isolation, as per the rules and guidance."

Mr Shapps said he was sure Mr Cummings obeyed social distancing rules.

He said: "You'll appreciate I wasn't with them so I can't tell you exactly what that journey was like, but what I do know is that Dominic Cummings - I saw a clip yesterday of him asking journalists to be spaced two metres apart, so I know he is a stickler for those rules about what to do to make sure you are following the two-metre rule and the like, so I'm sure that they took all the necessary precautions."

However, Mr Shapps said if Dominic Cummings had made the alleged trip to Barnard Castle during the period he should have been self-isolating, that would have been a breach of the rules.