This is what the Eastbourne MP thinks about the Dominic Cummings saga

The Eastbourne MP has expressed her view on the furore surrounding government advisor Dominic Cummings.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 9:24 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 9:55 am
Dominic Cummings at Downing Street on Monday (Photo by Jonathan Brady-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Mr Cummings, who is the Prime Minister’s senior advisor, has been criticised following revelations he travelled 270 miles from London to Durham during the strictest stage of lockdown – when he and his wife may have had covid-19.

He has been accused of breaking lockdown rules, but defended himself in a press conference on Monday (May 25), saying he did so to seek childcare for his young son at his family’s farm.

Caroline Ansell, who won back the seat from Stephen Lloyd in the December General Election, shared her response which she has been sending to constituents concerned about the situation.

Caroline Ansell with Boris Johnson in Eastbourne

She said, “Media coverage of Mr Cummings’ travel in March has sparked fury and frustration and I understand that; lockdown has been at a very great cost to very many of us.

“The Government Guidance has always made the provision that safeguarding, and risk of harm can be considered in exceptional circumstances. Parents unable to care for a four-year-old child would qualify, as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, stated in the recent press conference.

“On Monday, Mr Cummings explained his situation and his thinking here. While this has answered questions for some of you who have written to me, clearly not all; as such, I have passed on these concerns to Number 10.

“I should say for balance, that I have also received numerous emails castigating the media and political opportunism, not Mr Cummings.

“I have not worked with Dominic Cummings and I knew nothing of this episode until you did. I personally found the press conference difficult to watch. I didn’t know that his child had been hospitalised.

“I have found reading some of the emails I have subsequently received very hard to read too; hard because people have outlined their own heart-breaking decisions.

“Please forgive a standard response on this occasion, I have received over six hundred emails since Saturday night on this issue, but I want to assure you that I have read each one and that includes yours.

“As a country and as a town we have rallied in the face of this deadly virus and we will need to continue to do so to pull through the recovery phases and beyond.

“Thank you for all you have done personally these last weeks and months and with every good wish to you and your families and friends.”

‘Restore the public trust in the government’s guidance’

Meanwhile, some public figures in Eastbourne took a different view to Mrs Ansell.

Writing in a blog, Father Adam Ransom, Priest-in-charge of the benefice of Hampden Park, is calling on Boris Johnson to hold Mr Cummings to account for his actions.

He said, “The situation surrounding Dominic Cummings is important because ignoring it could lead to a large second wave of infections as people lose trust in the government’s advice.

“A large second wave of infections would affect those on the margins of society, the vulnerable, BAME families and the elderly disproportionately.

“Calling for the Prime Minister to act on this ground swell of public anger and distrust is absolutely the right thing to do. It would be the right thing to do regardless of which party held office.”

Father Ransom said, “I will join in with the Bishops and clergy and call upon our Prime Minister to hold Dominic Cummings to account for his actions and restore the public trust in the government’s guidance on coronavirus.

“I call upon our MP Caroline Ansell to join with her back-bench colleagues and speak out on behalf of her constituents who have abided by the rules and suffered sacrificially to protect others. I do so with a good conscience.”

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