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Fri, 3 July 2020

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By Andrew McQuillan
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Labour whip Rosie Duffield resigns after admitting breaking lockdown rules to meet up with partner

Labour whip Rosie Duffield resigns after admitting breaking lockdown rules to meet up with partner

Rosie Duffield has stood down as a Labour whip after breaching lockdown rules (PA)

2 min read

The Labour MP Rosie Duffield has resigned as a party whip after admitting breaching the coronavirus lockdown rules.

The member for Canterbury has apologised after it was revealed she went for a walk with her partner, who she did not live with at the time, when the Government guidance forbade people from different households from meeting up.

She has now stepped down from Labour’s frontbench, saying she had been "attempting to navigate a difficult personal situation”.

The 48-year-old did not deny to the The Mail on Sunday, which broke the story, that the man had also visited her constituency home.

Ms Duffield said the pair observed the two-metre social distancing rules during the walk in April, and are now believed to be living in the same property after her partner separated from his wife.

In a statement she said: "My partner and I have been attempting to navigate a difficult personal situation as responsibly as possible. I apologise that during that process, we breached the guidelines."

The former whip, who was only appointed by Sir Keir Starmer last month, added: "A relationship breakdown is difficult at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic.

"I hope people can understand why I took the steps I did and know that I take responsibility for the breaches that occurred and for which I apologise.”

It comes after Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief aide, refused to stand down after he drove more than 250 miles from London to Durham during the lockdown.

Mr Cummings has said he acted "legally and reasonably” over the trip to ensure he had childcare for his four-year-old son while both he and his wife were ill.

The Prime Minister has said the matter is closed, despite police confirming his adviser may have committed a “minor breach” of the rules after also taking a 50-mile round trip to Barnard Castle while he was staying in the North East, allegedly to test his eyesight for the further trip back to London.

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