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Tory MP slams cabinet’s ‘humiliating and degrading’ defence of Dominic Cummings



William Wragg is among the rising number of Tories to break rank and condemn Dominic Cummings (Picture: PA/AP)

As more and more Conservative MPs speak out against Boris Johnson’s top aide – cabinet ministers are seeking to form a protective shield around him.

Yesterday Dominic Cummings held a press conference in an attempt to clear up his 260 mile trip to his parents’ home in Durham and 60 mile round trip to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’ despite coronavirus lockdown rules. He says he made the trip with his symptomatic wife and son to arrange childcare in case he also fell ill and that there were no options available to them in the capital.

The Prime Minister has stood by his adviser, reiterating that he acted ‘legally’ and ‘with integrity’ and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove called Mr Cummings a ‘man of honour’ who acted in a ‘reasonable’ way.

But an increasing number of Tories are breaking rank, calling for the adviser to step down, or for Boris Johnson to sack him. Among those voices is chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs select committee William Wragg.

Today the MP for Hazel Grove tweeted: ‘We cannot throw away valuable public & political good will any longer. It’s humiliating & degrading to their office to see ministers put out agreed lines in defence of an advisor. This is a time of national emergency and our focus must be unrelenting. We owe it to the nation.’

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It comes as junior minister Douglass Ross quit as Under Secretary of State for Scotland over the ongoing scandal. He said that he could not ‘in good faith’ tell his constituents who could not care for sick relatives or say goodbye to dying ones while obeying lockdown rules that Mr Cummings acted appropriately.

Dominic Cummings insists he acted within the rules and has refused to step down (Picture: AP)

Mr Ross said Mr Cummings’ view on lockdown guidance was ‘not shared by the majority’ and that as a father himself, he would have stayed at home if he and his wife had contracted Covid-19.

Tory MP for Folkestone and Hythe Damian Collins said: ‘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.’

Prominent Brexiteer and MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone said: ‘What I think is unforgivable is that Dominic Cummings didn’t resign.

‘And then he put the Prime Minister in a situation where it was either sack him or keep him and, in the past, an adviser in that situation would have no hesitation but to resign.

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‘Behind the scenes, the vast, vast majority of Conservative MPs think Dominic Cummings should go.’

But the cabinet has appeared uniform in their defence of the PM’s top aide. On Saturday Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘Taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable, trying to score political points over it isn’t.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I know how ill coronavirus makes you. It was entirely right for Dom Cummings to find childcare for his toddler, when both he and his wife were getting ill.’

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