I very much acknowledge the strength of feeling from constituents on this issue and I completely understand people’s feelings over this situation. I have waited to respond on this situation until more of the facts were in the public domain for me to reflect upon. I know full well the sacrifices and hardships that constituents have made in adhering to the Government guidance as we navigate through this unprecedented Covid-19 crisis. Mr Cummings has now given an account of what happened over the previous weeks. I acknowledge that he acted as a caring parent and husband trying to do the best for his family. I would have preferred that his statement could have included an acknowledgement of the confusion and upset that his actions caused and that an apology for that could have been forthcoming. As your MP, I have made this decision on the situation on my own and without any external pressure. I have not called for his resignation; that is a decision for the Prime Minister. Some of Mr Cummings’ actions were definitely not defendable and human beings make mistakes, but I believe he was acting as parent and husband trying to protect his family whilst trying to keep people safe.
I gave a BBC interview on this issue which you can hear at:
Starting at 3 hrs 41mins 30 secs (3.41.30)
As I said above, I wish an apology had been forthcoming, but now the Police have made their conclusions, I think we should draw a line and focus on our national and local efforts to combat the Coronavirus crisis.