Ed Davey: No 10 has been "found out" for "cover-up" of Dominic Cummings' lockdown breach

23 May 2020, 16:21

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey told Matt Frei No 10 has been "found out" for "covering up" Dominic Cummings' breach of lockdown.

The acting co-leader called for an investigation into Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior adviser's decision to flout coronavirus lockdown rules.

Sir Ed questioned Mr Cummings' claim that he had acted "reasonably and legally" and was "astonished" to hear the adviser had no intention of quitting or being pushed out of office by ministers.

When asked whether he agreed with the suggestion by the SNP's Commons leader Ian Blackford that the government had covered up the story, Mr Davey told Matt Frei: "It looks like that's the case."

He added: "I think there needs to be an investigation... I think we need to know the facts and we need a clear statement about why the Prime Minister's closest adviser thought it was possible to travel 250 miles, because I didn't see that in the guidelines.

"Of course we have sympathy with the fact that he was concerned about his child, but it beggars belief that he couldn't find someone in the local area to support him and his wife.

"It really is astonishing, it's just not credible. Therefore, the breach of the guidelines on the travel seems, to me, extremely strong."

Sir Ed Davey condemned Dominic Cummings for breaching lockdown rules
Sir Ed Davey condemned Dominic Cummings for breaching lockdown rules. Picture: PA

Sir Ed told LBC: "Millions of people across the country have made huge sacrifices: not seeing their loved ones, not travelled, not even gone to funerals of their closest relatives, all in the national effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, using guidelines set down the by the Prime Minister and his closest advisers.

"For the Prime Minister's closest adviser to travel 250 miles to see his family, I'm afraid looks to me like a clear breach and the statement that's come out of No 10 today doesn't satisfy me at all.

"Many people were worried in my area about even going to the local park because of the restrictions on travel and it looks to me like the Prime Minister's adviser broke those guidelines."

He added: "I don't know know what No 10 is playing at but I'm afraid they've been found out it looks like to me."

The Lib Dem co-leader told Matt Frei: "I think the Prime Minister is going to have to make a public statement. He's going to have to say whether he really thinks this is within the guidelines, he's going to have to say what he knew about. Did he sanction this? Because let's remember that special advisers serve directly to their minister and the minister is accountable to Parliament.

"And that means the Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament for the actions of Dominic Cummings, and not hide."

He insisted: "It's not an issue of party politics, it's an issue of the national effort to tackle this appalling disease, this pandemic, with the government setting out the rules, and whether they abide by them when they expect us to abide by them."