In response to the news that Dominic Cummings, advisor to the Prime Minister, took a series of journeys from London to the North of England while ill during the Coronavirus lockdown concerns have been raised by many in Cheltenham that he may have defied the Government guidance that keeps us all safe - damaging public trust in the scheme. As Conservative MPs responded to the news, Max Wilkinson, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Cheltenham and Oakley Ward borough councillor, reached out to our local Conservative MP Alex Chalk for a response. We will share it when it comes in.
Max's letter, in full, is reproduced below:
I hope this email finds you well and that your family is doing OK during the lockdown.
It’s a few days since the news broke about Dominic Cummings and his trip to Durham, while he was suffering suspected Coronavirus.
Many opinions about this have been expressed and I cannot add much to what has already been said.
While some have said they are sympathetic, many more have expressed anger at what appears to be actions that risk the national effort against Coronavirus, without believable mitigating factors. I tend to take a generous view of the actions of those under stress and pressure. We all know that things can sometimes go awry – we are all human. Furthermore, many people may have moved around under lockdown with good reason, whether that may be a relationship breakdown, moving house or the need to get to a safe place. Nobody would seek to deny those people their rights to do those things, in line with the rules. However, it seems that Dominic Cummings made at least one unnecessary trip, despite his position as a senior advisor to the Prime Minister. People rightly expect that those in government who set the rules should also follow those rules.
I would be interested to know whether you support the actions of Dominic Cummings and whether you feel it is appropriate for him to remain in his role as advisor to the Prime Minister. In line with the views of many local people, I’m not interested in an apology from Mr Cummings, nor am I interested in further explanations of his actions.
His lack of apology and his explanations are all on the record for people to judge. I’m interested in whether you support the principle that those who set the rules, including Mr Cummings, should follow them. Do you support his continuing employment by the government of our country?
Many Conservative MPs have said they think Mr Cummings should resign and one Minister has already resigned in protest.
As well as being a member of the government, you are our local MP. Cheltenham people deserve to know what you think.
We await your response.
Cllr Max Wilkinson
Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Cheltenham