I wrote to my MP, Julia Lopez (CON), asking for her view on whether Dominic Cummings had broken the law or not and if he should be removed from his position. Here is her response:
Thank you for your email about the Prime Minister’s adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his movements during the lockdown period. I apologise for taking a few days to get back to you, however I am in the last weeks of my maternity leave and am working through a number of tasks in preparation for my return.
I have read through all the emails sent to me about Mr Cummings and completely understand the anger some correspondents feel. It has been a very testing time for so many of us as we have strived to adhere to new restrictions that have separated us from loved ones, led us to make very difficult decisions about our living and working arrangements or seen us miss important family occasions – both happy and sad. Those sacrifices have often been painful but were made in good faith in order to protect ourselves, our families and the most vulnerable in the broader community.
Given the strength of feeling among constituents, I wrote to the Prime Minister this week to advise him of the number of emails I had received and the sentiments expressed within them, highlighting in particular the concern over public health messaging. Mr Cummings has sought to explain his actions in a press conference in Downing Street and has taken questions from journalists. While his explanation has satisfied some constituents, I know others believe it was inadequate and feel that this episode requires an independent inquiry. I have made that request to the Prime Minister on behalf of that group of constituents.
Mr Cummings asserts that he acted within lockdown rules which permitted travel in exceptional circumstances to find the right kind of childcare. In the time period in question, he advises that he was dealing with a sick wife, a child who required hospitalisation, a boss who was gravely ill, security concerns at his home, and the management of a deeply challenging public health crisis. It has been asserted that Mr Cummings believes he is subject to a different set of rules to everyone else, but he explained in this period that he did not seek privileged access to covid testing and did not go to the funeral of a very close family member.
I am not going to be among those MPs calling for Mr Cummings’ head to roll. Ultimately it is for the Prime Minister to decide whether he wishes Mr Cummings to remain in post – and to be accountable for and accept the consequences of the decision he makes – and for the relevant authorities to determine whether he has broken the law. Whatever one thinks of this episode, I think the hounding of Mr Cummings’ family has been disturbing to watch and I hope that in future the press can find a way of seeking truth without so aggressively intruding into the lives of those who have done nothing to justify their attention.
Thank you again for taking the trouble to share with me your concerns. I regret that we cannot address everyone individually but the team continues to receive a high number of complex cases involving those navigating healthcare, financial and other challenges and these constituents are being prioritised. I shall send you any response I receive from the Prime Minister.