Britain

Tories break ranks and demand Cummings is sacked over lockdown breach

A senior Conservative MP has said Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings "should go".

Steve Baker, a prominent member of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: "I have always opposed him being in Number 10.

"He creates an awful lot of collateral damage… things just get rather ugly around the edges.

Minister on Cummings – full uncomfortable interview

"He fights against any attempt to control him and direct him and it is just not a suitable way for anyone to behave when they are in political life – we all have to be held to account.

"He is not always right, he is certainly not indispensable to Boris. No one is. I just think this is the end of the road.

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"He has at the very least not abided by the slogans that he has enforced on the rest of the country and that is why he should go."

Dominic Cummings leaving his house.
'I behaved reasonably and legally'

Mr Cummings has insisted he behaved "reasonably and legally" after it was revealed he travelled 260 miles from London to his elderly parents' home in Durham with his wife and four-year-old son during lockdown at the end of March after his spouse developed coronavirus symptoms.

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Mr Baker said: "It is very clear that Dominic travelled when everybody else understood Dominic's slogans to mean 'stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives'.

"I think mums and dads who very much care about their children and who have been foregoing the childcare of their extended family will wonder why he has been allowed to do this.

"I really don't see how this is going to go away unless Dominic goes."

Mr Baker also criticised senior members of government who on Saturday voiced their support for Mr Cummings, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his cabinet colleague Michael Gove.

"I think yesterday, secretaries of state were out with some quite thin lines trying to save Dominic… and it didn't work, and it isn't going to work because the media aren't going to let this go," he said.

"I just see this rattling on now day after day, wasting the public's time, consuming political capital and diverting from the real issues we need to deal with.

"No one is indispensable. Dominic should go, and we should have a chief of staff to the prime minister who doesn't end up in the newspapers in this way."

Earlier, he tweeted: "It is intolerable that Boris' government is losing so much political capital. Three changes are immediately required: 1 – Govt needs competitive expert advice 2 – Govt must insist on high software engineering standards 3 – Dominic Cummings must go."

It is intolerable that Boris government is losing so much political capital. Three changes are immediately required:

1 – Govt needs competitive expert advice

2 – Govt must insist on high software engineering standards

3 – Dominic Cummings must gohttps://t.co/zUOCVcDAmN

— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) May 24, 2020

And in an article for The Critic magazine, he wrote: "Enormous political capital is being expended saving someone who has boasted of making decisions beyond his competence and who clearly broke at the very least the guidance which kept mums and dads at home, without childcare from their parents, and instead risked spreading the virus by travelling.

"Dominic Cummings must go before he does any more harm to the UK, the government, the prime minister, our institutions or the Conservative Party," he added.

Since Mr Baker publicly called for Cummings to resign, several other Conservative MPs followed suit and came out to condemn the PM's chief aide.

Damian CollinsDominic 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.

Sir Roger Gale – While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings's desire to protect his child. There cannot be one law for the prime minister's staff and another for everyone else. He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable.

Simon HoareWith the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the government's reputation he must consider his position. Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. It's his cavalier "I don't care; I'm cleverer than you" tone that infuriates people. He is now wounding the PM/Govt & I doRead More – Source