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

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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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What are the 5 levels of lockdown in the UK?

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5 levels of lockdown in the UK

The pandemic, COVID-19, has left people devastated and governments are taking every measure to help people face this problematic situation. Coronavirus disease is not for you or me, it’s for everyone. No one knows the beginning and end, it’s just happening around! Coronavirus outbreak is divided into five different levels and The UK is currently at Level 4 of the breakdown structure. Read below to know about various levels and other information about lockdown in the UK.

5 Levels of lockdown

Level 5: RED

The disease is spreading like hell at this stage. R number is significantly above one in most parts of the nation.

As a result, the country runs under a shortage of resources in hospitals.

Level 4: Between orange and Red

When the value of Ro increases from 1 at least in some areas, it falls you in level 4. More strict measures have been taken in this.

The lockdown is imposed by the government. Britain is at this level.

Level 3: ORANGE

New Infections are reported and Ro number is increasing but not significantly. Ro is the reproduction rate of disease from person to person. R<1 in Level 3.

The partial lockdown has started in this stage. Supermarkets and essential commodity shops are allowed to open. Schools, restaurants, Malls have closed.

Level 2: Between Green and Orange

Virus Transmission is at minimum level leaves you in Level 2. This means the cases have started rising from 0 to above. Advised to stay indoors but no lockdown is there. Schools are allowed to open, supermarkets re allowed to open with social distancing.

Level 1: GREEN

If the country reached level one, it means we have achieved normal lives. Everything will be back to normal and reopen. No more lockdown and fear of anything. But this could only be possible when a certain vaccine been made to recover the COVID-19 infected patient. The world has to pass through a lot of losses before attaining this level. Many universities and medical pharmaceutical companies are working over the vaccine and hope to get the good news soon.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab confirmed on Sunday the country is in the process of ‘transitioning’ to level three, telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge: ‘We’re transitioning from level four to level three.’

Maintaining Social Distancing is the only big measure to save yourself from such a deadly disease. Other measures to consider are wash hands frequently, maintain hygiene, wear masks, Do not cough, or sneeze directly in the air. Yes, people around the world can not do anything for this deadly COVID-19 disease but I would say some measures that are in your hands should be followed properly. Take care 🙂

 

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When are department stores reopening and will you be able to try on clothes?

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Department stores have re-opened in some parts of the world (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

The next phase of the easing of the UK’s lockdown measures will see the return of some non-essential retail to the high street, with shops set to open their doors from 15 June.

Boris Johnson announced the measure on Monday, giving the green light to clothes shops and other stores – which have been shut since the end of March – to re-open.

Some retailers have already announced their plans for re-opening – although shopping is likely to be very different for some times with social distancing and other measures being put in place as a bid to keep Covid-19 at bay.

But where does this leave department stores? Here’s what we know so far…

When are department stores re-opening?

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Some department stores have already announced their re-opening plans, and here’s how it is currently looking:

John Lewis

John Lewis will be opening its doors again next month (Picture: Rex Shutterstock)

John Lewis has announced a phased re-opening of its stores, starting with the Poole and Kingston branches on 15 June, followed by 11 others on 18 June – and more to follow over the summer.

The chain has said it will have new social distancing measures in place, from limiting the number of customers entering the store, through to having prominent social distancing signs, control procedures for escalators and a limit on the number of people in lifts, and rigorous cleaning routines implemented.

They will also provide hand sanitiser for customers at entrances and install protective screens at checkouts and in parts of the shop where social distancing is not possible.

Debenhams

Debenhams has closed some branches permanently while it has been shut (Picture: Getty Images)

Debenhams has yet to reveal its plans for re-opening, although it’s been reported they plan to open 90 branches across England from 15 June.

However the reports say not all of their stores will open on that date, while branches in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have been subject to different restrictions, are likely to be later.

The company announced in April that four of its branches – Southampton, Kidderminster, Borehamwood and Swindon – were to close permanently.

House Of Fraser/Sports Direct

House Of Fraser has yet to reveal its re-opening plans (Picture: Getty Images)

House Of Fraser and Sports Direct have yet to reveal their plans for re-opening.

The company hit the headlines back in March after Sports Direct announced they were remaining open during lockdown, saying that selling sports and fitness equipment which could be used at home while gyms were closed was providing people with an essential service.

However they closed the following day in a dramatic U-turn.

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer’s food halls have remained open while the rest of the store is closed (Picture: PA)

Marks and Spencer’s food halls have remained open during lockdown, although other parts of their stores have been closed.

However they have said they also plan to re-open stores more fully from June, putting in place the same social distancing measures that have been in place in their food halls in the wake of the pandemic.

Will you be able to try on clothes in department stores?

It’s likely that while shops will re-open, changing rooms will remain closed for the time being.

However retailers are reported to be working on ways to allow changing rooms to re-open at a later date.

This could potentially include ‘quarantining’ clothes – that is, removing all clothes that have been tried on by customers from the shop floor for 72 hours before they can be put back on sale.

This has been adopted in countries including Canada, France and Italy, where clothes have been kept off sale for a period of time and steam cleaned before they are returned to the shop floor.

Shoe shops could have a similar system, with Kurt Geiger having reportedly said that shoes will be quarantined for 24 hours after a customer has tried them on, while people will be asked to wear disposable socks when trying on shoes.

MORE: This Morning’s Ruth Langsford insists she hasn’t broken lockdown as fans suspect she’s flouted rules to see a hairdresser

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This is what theatres could look like when they reopen after lockdown

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A picture of a German theatre shows a ‘new reality’ amid the coronavirus crisis (Picture: @blnensemble)

A theatre company in Germany has offered a first look at how social distancing will work when audiences return.

Normally there is space for around 700 people in the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin – but, amid the coronavirus crisis, only 200 guests will be welcomed to watch plays at one time.

A picture posted to the Berliner Ensemble’s social media shows the bizarre circumstances theatre-goers will find themselves under, with seats arranged metres apart, in groups of one or two.

Speaking on Twitter, the theatre company said it would be the ‘new reality’ from when it reopens in September.

They added that all chairs were being refurbished and renovated, but would not reveal information about how booking tickets would work and how much they would be.

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The picture, which received more than 2,000 retweets, provoked a mix of reactions from fans.

One person said the image made her sad as it looked ‘so unusual’, while another said: ‘I do not know if I should laugh or cry…’

Meanwhile, one Twitter user joked that it was his ‘dream’ to be as far away from other people as possible at the theatre.

Theater am Schiffbauerdamm before the coronavirus crisis (Picture: Berliner Ensemble)

The UK government has stated some hospitality businesses could reopen from 4 July – but this relies on infection and death rates staying low.

The Society of London Theatre has been unable to give a firm date for the reopening of all West End theatres, saying different theatres and productions are likely to reopen at different times.

It comes as Vue, one of the UK’s biggest cinema chains, sets out a plan to reopen cinemas using social distancing measures.

In a statement, Vue said families would sit together apart from strangers to watch films, while screening times would be staggered and enhanced cleaning would be put in place.

It read: ‘We have been liaising closely with authorities across Europe to design operating procedures that can provide the degree of social distancing required and allow an experience for our customers and staff that is as safe as possible.’

Bosses at Cineworld have stated they are monitoring the situation and cannot provide a firm date for reopening.

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