Isle of Wight MP says ‘explanation seemed entirely reasonable’: While IW politicians call for Dominic Cummings’ resignation

Labour, Green and LibDem politicians on the Isle of Wight question the lockdown actions of the Government’s special advisor Dominic Cummings. The Isle of Wight MP responds

dominic cummings on typewriter

You’d be hard pushed to have avoided hearing about the row surrounding Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s special advisor, who drove with his wife and child from London to Durham (270 miles) where his parents live during Coronavirus lockdown.

There appear to be several versions of what actually happened, but the advice from the Government throughout lockdown has been that households should not mix and older residents – 70+ – should self isolate and avoid contact with others, especially those who have been in contact with someone with Coronavirus (Covid-19). Mr and Mrs Cummings say they both had the virus.

Call for resignation
Isle of Wight politicians have expressed their concern at the actions of Mr Cummings, with Island Labour joining a number of Conservative MPs who have publicly criticised Cummings, and are demanding his resignation.

Island Labour say,

“We believe this is an opportunity for Bob Seely to demonstrate his own integrity by also calling for Cummings to be sacked.”

Labour: “Johnson’s backing of Cummings is utterly toxic”
Speaking for Island Labour, their chair, Julian Critchley, said,

“Thousands of Islanders have denied ourselves and our families the contact we so desperately want, in order to keep others safe, by following the government’s rules. Even at the cost of missing final goodbyes to dying relatives.

“We’ve followed the updates of the Isle of Wight police when they were enforcing the lockdown, with fines available for those who broke it. We have agreed with council leader Dave Stewart’s repeated messages in the local media to stay home and observe social distancing rules. Business owners and individuals have complied with the lockdown restrictions at great cost to themselves. Again, in order to protect others.

“While this has been a grim time for us all, we have been able to draw some comfort from the fact that nearly all of us have willingly suffered these privations in order to protect not just our own families, but people we don’t even know. It has been an act of collective altruism, to impose restrictions on ourselves in order to protect others.

“This is why what Cummings did is so appalling, and why Johnson and his cabinet’s backing of Cummings is so utterly toxic. To suggest that we who obeyed the rules did so because we didn’t care for our families as much as Cummings did, is disgusting and insulting.

“If we accept a situation where there is one law for the little people, but another for the powerful elite, then it is an end to our rules-based society. The implications are enormous.

“Bob Seely has rightly been consistent in calling for Islanders to observe social distancing and follow the lockdown rules. We have supported him in that. Now we ask him to support all Islanders who have made the sacrifices which Cummings felt didn’t apply to him, and demand Cummings’ immediate sacking.”

Green: One rule for us, and another rule for Conservative party politicians?
Meanwhile, Vix Lowthion, spokesperson for the Isle of Wight Green Party questioned why leader of the Isle of Wight council, Dave Stewart, had posted his approval for both Matt Hancock and Rishi Sunak’s support for Dominic Cummings.

She said,

“How can the leader of the IW Council tell people to stay away from the Isle of Wight at the moment, whilst condoning these actions?

“Many Islanders would have loved to have welcomed vulnerable relatives to isolate here on the Island, but we followed the rules and told them to stay away. At great personal and economic loss.

“Is it one rule for us, and another rule for Conservative party politicians?”

Cllr Stewart told OnTheWight he had no comment to make in response.

LibDem: Seely needs to “recognise anger at weaselly nature of Cummings”
On Monday afternoon, Nick Stuart, Chair of the Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats, said,

“Dominic Cummings should have resigned or been sacked by now for his failure to follow his own lockdown rules. Bob’s refusal to say anything is a comment on his failure to move from Party loyalty to Public duty.

“Bob may have been appointed as Parliamentary candidate and then lucky enough to be elected, but he should listen to Islanders. Recognise the anger at the weaselly nature of Dominic Cummings. The architect of the Government response to Covid flouting the very behaviour he starkly presented to us. ‘Stay at Home’ – A simple message to save lives and public health. So the arrogance of someone choosing to drive over 500 miles to Durham and back and now getting his minions to tell the public it was all OK is breathtaking.

“Bob has found it easy to write about the Chinese Government approach to Hong Kong, but has refused to support the Island public in calling for the removal of a simple hypocrite. If Cummings had his second home on the Island would Bob still feel unable to make a comment? Perhaps Bob thinks that with Dominic Cummings role as the PM’s key advisor us little people shouldn’t question him”

Seely: “Cummings explanation seemed entirely reasonable”
In response, Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, told News OnTheWight,

“It’s clear that some constituents feel strongly on this issue. I have passed these views onto the Government in Westminster. I will be responding to these emails. The Government has responded to concerns here and elsewhere by asking Mr Cummings to make a statement, which he did yesterday.

“We need to collectively respect the rules and reasons for them. Individuals and families up and down the country are exercising their own judgment on a daily basis. As part of this, people may occasionally err, and sometimes act in a way which others consider inappropriate. If there was persistent ignoring of rules, that is one thing, but in a one-off incident or a simple error of judgement, I would prefer to use a little understanding and a sense of forgiveness. I would do so regardless whether someone was a political opponent or ally. In fact, I note that three Labour MPs have broken lockdown rules as well as a Labour Minister in the Welsh Government. I think a little forgiveness goes a long way.

“Dominic Cummings explanation seemed entirely reasonable, so I hope we can now move on. There are significant and important things that we need to focus on. Dominic Cummings’ attempts to look after his family is not one of them.

Seely: “My focus will remain on the Island”
He finished by saying

“My focus will remain on the Island: liaising with a wide range of organisations (including the leadership of the Isle of Wight Council) about our ongoing response to Coronavirus, and how best to support residents and businesses; securing Government support for the Island (such as funding for a rail feasibility study); and continuing to handle casework received from constituents.”

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Tuesday, 26th May, 2020 1:48pm

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Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Politics, Top story

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45 Comments on "Isle of Wight MP says ‘explanation seemed entirely reasonable’: While IW politicians call for Dominic Cummings’ resignation"

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ian123

It’s a funny world where testing your eyesight is a “reasonable explanation” for having to drive sixty miles, by chance taking your family via a known local beauty spot on a sunny bank holiday, when the law is requiring everyone else to stay at home and you are already hundreds of miles from your own.

septua
Like a number of journalists you have not quoted accurately what Dominic Cummings said. He said that his wife had suggested they go for a drive to see whether he was fit to drive back to London (i.e. had the stamina to do so) and he added as an afterthought to also check on his eyesight. As someone who has driven up and down the A1 from… Read more »
Jenny Smart

It was Mary’s birthday and a Bank Holiday, so you are telling me it wasn’t a nice little trip out with the family ?

davimel

Guess this is not the best thread to throw logic into the mix…lol

prof

Driving that far non-stop takes stamina. Driving sensibly and taking regular breaks, less so.

Steve Goodman
As has just been made clear, again, on this evening’s BBC2 Newsnight: He clearly broke the rules (and also apparently recently altered a 2019 blog to make it look like he had written a warning of the possible threat of coronaviruses, as he claimed yesterday); medical and scientific professionals, MPs from all parties, and most of the public are understandably infuriated, and he, and the PM and… Read more »
Steve Goodman

Unsurprisingly, this is likely to increase sales of the latest Private Eye (1523, the one with Dom’s ‘defence in full’… “I went for a drive to test my lies” etc. on the cover).

Steve Goodman
“There’s a very good reason people with symptoms, and those living with them, are asked to stay put in a pandemic. A single infection can eventually spread to thousands. We were late to lockdown in London, but areas of low infectivity could still be protected if no outsiders travelled to them. By driving his family from London to Durham, Dominic Cummings risked spreading the virus to a… Read more »
Fenders

I am interested to know what is the hold Dominic Cummings has over Boris Johnson.

henry

That’s easy to answer, he knows way too much about the dirty dealings that go on at the heart of this government. They dare not get rid of him less he spills the beans.

uosf9
Quite right Henry,he knows where the bodies are.He is also responsible for most of the lies in the Brexit campaign and started off with the ‘herd mentality’on covid ’till he realised it would be a huge vote loser.Apparntly according to him he forecast this covid business last year,until Faisal Isman caught him out. Johnson today is supposed to appear before a select committee made up of lapdogs… Read more »
Steve Goodman
For anyone interested but not yet using sources like Private Eye, the Guardian, or other country’s reporting: One informative/ entertaining/ amusing explanation is offered by (national treasure?) Marina Hyde in today’s Guardian – “The truth about why Cummings hasn’t gone: Johnson is too terrified to sack him” “The prime minister’s decision is not born of loyalty to his adviser – he just can’t get rid of his… Read more »
Steve Goodman

A (Guardian) letter writer put it another way, along the lines of Emu being unable to sack Rod Hull. Now the PM is desperate to ‘move on’, and is telling the majority of the responsibly behaved rule-abiding population, who think that unelected ‘rules are for the little people’ Cummings should be the one to move on (to another job), that they actually want something else.

kerry

Boris’s brush with death, Carries new puppy, and sprog, Cummings coming and goings, isn’t it all part of the rich tapestry of Boris buffoonery and dribble fed to the media and lower masses to draw attention away from the ‘real’ story, the Governments appalling lack of pandemic preparation resulting in the worse number of COVID-19 related deaths for any European Country?

Benny C
That’s the key point. It has been handled badly and cost lives, businesses and a lot of stress. Bob Seely take note. This fiasco will still be a smell in the air at the next general election. The damage done has been exacerbated by the Cummings issue – the remoteness of politicians from their electorate. Gove was terrible when responding on LBC, almost worse than Councillor Churchman… Read more »
Jenny Smart

He’s not missing the trickery going on right under his nose, he’s very much part of it, that’s the problem.

Spartacus
Let’s hope we all remember the way the Tories have mishandled this pandemic which has cost lives needlessly, Cllr Dave Stewart and Bob Seely’s hidden agenda using a worthless app lulling a lot of residents into a false sense of security but in reality it was always abut reopening the Island and compromising the health and well being of Islanders. The most appalling thing of course has… Read more »
chartman

There’s high up people here on the Island that blatantly flout the current social distancing/don’t invite your family round etc. Right next door to me..They clearly think the law doesn’t apply to them and they claim to be vulnerable…Bloody hypocrites.

Spartacus

Who votes for these people?

Justin Case

Giving Bob Seely the benefit of the doubt that he does not lack integrity, the only remaining conclusion is that he is guileless. How can we expect him to represent us competently I’m Westminster?

Spartacus

As residents we should come together and register a vote of no confident and oust him out, he doesn’t truly represent the interests of the majority.

ratbag

Was it also entirely reasonable that he breached SPAD rules by holding a press conference and then initiated new lies during it regarding his ‘forecasting’ a coronavirus pandemic?

prof
Let’s see… He drove 260 miles because the largest city in the UK was incapable of providing emergency child support which he determined without checking at all. Yup, sounds perfectly plausible to me. Assuming you use the current government system where the word “plausible” is reinterpreted in such a way as to mean “totally implausible” of course. In which case it would also be totally plausible that… Read more »
sculler

The Cummings shenanigans pales when compared to Number 10 telling a blatant lie. Denying Durham police interviewing Mr Cummings. How can we trust anything that is said

https://www.itv.com/news/2020-05-23/police-challenge-government-over-dominic-cummings-lockdown-denial/

planespeaker
You may believe that one of the most powerful and influencial people in the country couldn’t pick up a phone and summon expert child care to help him continue running the goverment; your opinion of someone who wrote the simple rule that even the great unwashed would find unambiguous “stay home” didn’t think applied to him; you perhaps agree with the princple that having doubt about your… Read more »
elliosho

Of course our very own Boris Bootlicker would say that.

truth
Johnson should go, and be tried for genocide for delaying the lockdown. What we have is a cabinet of millionaires who are only interested in being in Government so that they can bend rules and make more money for themselves and their friends. They have no interests whatsoever to help and feel compassion for everyday folk. Their arrogance in not even apologising for colossal magnitude of errors… Read more »
Stewart Blackmore

Cap’n Bob’s sole goal and aspiration is to get his elitist bum in the back seat of a chauffeur-driven ministerial car. When that happens (after all, the talent pool is minimal) we’ll hardly see him on the Island.

Stewart Blackmore

So anything that BoJo and Cummings say or do is, of course, all right by him.

alaniow
Why is the Island PM willing to support a liar who today was found to have broken the lockdown rules by the Durham Police. It shows he is simply dishonourable and cannot be trusted. As for the supporters of Cummings and Co on this thread who believe his lies and condone lying they are not trustworthy neighbours who can ever be trusted with our friendship. But I… Read more »
oldie
It wasn’t till Cummings speech from the Rose Garden of 10 Downing Street that there have Suddenly been numerous articles online and in mainstream media about Covid Induced eye problems like conjunctivitis, red eye, excessively dry eyes, watery eyes and deterioration of eyesight. Ophthalmologists in a number of other countries have been publishing studies about this including one in Wuhan. We all know why Labour and Green… Read more »
henrydog
I am sorry to read the comments here. Politics and point scoring should be the last thing we use at present. Everyone should be working together to save lives. It is common knowledge that members of all political parties have members who have broken the rules and the media are a disgrace. If anyone is saying because he broke the rules I will to is so stupid… Read more »
ian123

Doesn’t the person who actually came up with the “stay home” slogan carry some additional responsibility to do the right thing?

Angela Hewitt

Sticking my neck out. I am not a Boris fan or a Cummings fan but this looks like a witch hunt to me

prof

So… can I put you down for a pitchfork or a flaming torch? I believe there are also a few places left in the gesturing and shouting squad if you’re interested.

jarundel
I agree there is now a witch hunt by the press, Angela. There is more than a whiff of sour grapes, too. Not many people even have the option of inhabiting a spare cottage next to relatives. Given his circumstances, it is unsurprising he took advantage of his privileged position. BUT Mr Cummings should have stayed there on the Bank Holiday. He could have started to go… Read more »
Spartacus

How can you say that, lead by example comes to mind. When you are in the hot seat you have got to be squeaky clean, their not and are abusing their position.

davimel
Personally, I would do anything and everything to protect my family, including driving 100 miles to my fathers estate (I wish) and everything else he did. What I find amazing is the blood lust for someone who has not broken the law and simply did the best for his family. I find the press have done more damage to themselves than this man has done to anyone!… Read more »
Joe
OMG, yet again when all else fails blame the press. Lets put a bit of local context around this. At about the time this happened our MP and Council leader were telling people from the mainland not to come to the Island to self isolate as it was relatively Covid-19 free. This guy went from a Covid-19 hotspot (London) with his wife having Covid-19 symptoms to Durham… Read more »
ian123

Yes, one does wonder whether some of the reactions would be the same, had Cummings decided to flee with his family and bring the virus to a spare property on the island.

micksey009
Didn’t realize there were so many Lefties on this otherwise lovely Island. Clearly Dominic Cummins had the best interests of his 4 year old child and his wife at heart when he decided to drive to Durham. I believe what he said. He has not broken any government guidelines. I would have done the same as he did- used common sense to correctly interpret what to do… Read more »
chausettes
micksey009 – you don’t have to be on either side of the political spectrum to recognise why Cummings actions are detrimental to the core message to stay at home. Hence members of his own party are calling for him to be removed or asking him to resign. Conflating this specific issue with Brexit is utterly ridiculous. Brexit (whether you are for it, or against it) will still… Read more »
micksey009

I disagree with chausettes 100%.
Of course it’s a political issue.
I wonder why Stephen Kinnock’s jaunt was so little reported?
If you don’t recognise the leftie bias I’m afraid you are part of it.
A storm in a teacup.
It’s pure trivia and the media is fully responsible for acting as judge and jury.
I used to have respect for Piers Morgan and Robert Peston. No longer.
Pair of idiots.

Spartacus

Boris asked people to use common sense, clearly Cummings and his nibs hasn’t got any, and their telling the nation how to conduct themselves don’t make me laugh.

Spartacus

The trouble is there are too many out of touch Conservatives who don’t have to struggle day by day like most us. Lovely Island it definitely is, but it will be “save our Island “ if planning gets the go ahead from our Tory led council regarding UKOG oil exploration.