Great Britain

Cummings is an 'absolute disgrace' say Teesdale residents

PRESSURE is mounting on Dominic Cummings to resign following his alleged lockdown breach.

The senior adviser first came under fire after allegations broke that he breached lockdown rules by visiting his parents’ home in County Durham, with many claiming he repeatedly visited the region.

Residents in Teesdale have reported sightings of him during the lockdown sparking fury among older people living in Barnard Castle, with many saying he should have been sacked.

One resident Richard Mulley, 75, said: “He should be gone by now.

“He has been backed by Boris Johnson and that’s disgusting. I think Boris is not fit to run the country, saying he has done nothing wrong.

“Everyone else has done what they were asked to do, we were locked in for weeks, while he was coming to our town.”

Fellow resident Judith Phillips, 71, added: “Get rid of him, he should have gone, it’s an absolute disgrace.

“A lot of people are angry, my family is absolutely livid thinking what would they have done if two parents were ill.”

A pensioner shopping in the high street, who asked not to be named, agreed, saying: “Why should people observe the rules, but he does not?

“He is a law unto himself.”

Despite the criticism others have leapt to his defence including Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

In Sunday’s Government press briefing he said: “ “I have had extensive face-to-face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus – and when he had no alternative – I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent.”

Conservative MPs including Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also expressed support, he said “It’s reasonable and fair to ask for an explanation on this. And it has been provided: two parents with coronavirus, were anxiously taking care of their young child. Those now seeking to politicise it should take a long hard look in the mirror.”

North-East MP, Dehenna Davison also spoke out on the controversy and said appropriate action should be taken.

Ms Davison, whose Bishop Auckland constituency contains Barnard Castle, yesterday tweeted: “I sincerely hope that reports that Dominic Cummings travelled to tourist spots in Barnard Castle are not true as I know my constituents would expect those with power to follow the same guidelines and make the same sacrifices we have all had to make during this difficult time.

“It’s clear that there is much speculation over what Dominic Cummings did and didn’t do.

“I won’t be commenting further until we have all the facts (and hopefully today’s press conference will help) but if rules have been broken, appropriate action should be taken.”

In the press conference yesterday evening Mr Cummings said he made the journey to County Durham because of fears over a lack of childcare if he became incapacitated with Covid-19, but also concerns about his family’s safety.

He said: "I thought the best thing to do in all the circumstances was to drive to an isolated cottage on my father’s farm.”

Mr Cummings said that during his time in Durham "at no point did any of the three of us enter my parents' house or sister's house".

He said their only exchanges were "shouted conversations at a distance" and his sister left shopping outside for them.

He denied going back to Durham after returning to London on April 13.

He added: "In the last few days there have been many media reports I returned to Durham after April 13.

"All these stories are false. There's a particular report I returned there on April 19.

"Photos and data on my phone prove this to be false, I was in London on that day."

Following the briefing Government chief whip Mark Harper tweeted: "A full, frank, honest and open statement from Dominic Cummings. He acted as a father and husband, within the rules. He has had lots of mis information put out there about him. Time to move on and focus on solving this massive national challenge of Covid19."

However, many are still criticising his decision, Acting Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: “The PM must terminate his contract - if he wants to regain any credibility in leading the country on dealing with the coronavirus crisis.”

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