Thank you for contacting me regarding the Prime Minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings.
We have seen, week after week, the huge toll this virus is taking on people, on livelihoods and above all on families and friends: not being able to visit relatives, some of whom have been in their last days, nor attend the funerals of loved ones.
I am therefore not surprised at the reaction to the newspapers’ revelations.
I have considered Mr Cummings’ actions and the views of constituents both expressing support and strong disapproval.
I did not rush to comment immediately as I wanted to hear both sides of the story. Having done so I have published a statement on my website and am writing to set out my views. I am very sorry not to be able to reply to every email received personally.
I listened closely to Mr Cummings’ detailed statement on Monday at which he answered an exhaustive list of questions.
I recognise that, at the time of his actions, he was under enormous pressure and was motivated by his desire to protect his son when he was worried that both he and his wife could be incapacitated. It was a human reaction. I also recognise that the care of a vulnerable individual can present “exceptional circumstances” in the application of the guidelines.
I accept that he remained in self-isolation with his immediate family; he was not staying with his sister or parents but in a separate cottage and remained socially distanced.
I appreciate that these factors may do little to soften the outrage I know many feel, especially having made such enormous sacrifices.
I understand why people may come to a different conclusion than me and have ensured that I have passed on the views of constituents who have emailed. However I do not feel his removal from office would be helpful, especially at a time when we are at a critical point down the path of suppressing the infection and need to focus intensely on this one overwhelming priority.