Tory MP for Doncaster admits being 'frustrated' by Dominic Cummings' lockdown breaches as row continues

Doncaster Conservative MP Nick Fletcher has expressed his ‘frustration’ at the Prime Minister’s chief advisor breaking lockdown restrictions.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 7:56 pm
Updated Monday, 1st June 2020, 4:44 pm

Chief aide Dominic Cummings has faced calls to resign after he drove 260 miles from London to County Durham in spite of lockdown curfews.

The news prompted widespread anger and many Conservative MPs have joined a call for Mr Cummings to step down.

Mr Fletcher, elected as the Conservative MP for Don Valley back in December, didn’t call for Mr Cummings to resign but said he ‘wholeheartedly understands why people will be disappointed and angry’.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher

A Government spokesman said owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, ‘it was essential’ for Mr Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.

Mr Cummings and his family were apparently seen walking by the River Tees in Barnard Castle, 30 miles from Durham and said he made the trip to ‘test his eye sight’ before making the trip back to London.

Mr Fletcher said: “Having watched the press conference on Monday May 25, I share (the) frustration regarding the situation and wholeheartedly understand why people will be disappointed and angry at Mr Cummings’ actions.

“We have all made tremendous personal sacrifices during the lockdown period and have missed important family events.

“I want to make clear that I have been following the lockdown rules stringently since returning from Parliament in late March and understand how frustrating this experience has been.

“Despite the events that unfolded over the weekend, we still have a responsibility to abide by the lockdown measures, and the actions of others should not influence our ability and commitment to do that.”

Other Tory MPs in South Yorkshire are mixed on the actions of Mr Cummings and the response from Government.

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley said there ‘cannot be one rule for one and another for others’ but Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone & Stocksbridge, said she believed ‘that he did not break the law or the guidelines’.

Ms Cates did concede that ‘fully understand’ why reports Mr Cummings may have broken the lockdown rules have ‘provoked anger and hurt in so many people’.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Nancy Fielder, editor