Minister Douglas Ross quits over Dominic Cummings row saying he can't tell voters Durham trip was right
Douglas Ross has quit as a junior minister in the Scotland Office over the Dominic Cummings row (Credit: UK Parliament)
Douglas Ross has resigned as a minister over the Dominic Cummings lockdown row, saying he cannot tell voters they “were all wrong and one senior adviser to the Government was right”.
The MP for Moray, who became a minister in the Scotland Office in the wake of Boris Johnson’s election victory last year, said “events over the last few days mean I can no longer serve as a member of this government”.
The resignation comes after a string of Conservative MPs broke ranks to demand Mr Cummings’ resignation over a 270 mile trip from Durham to London during the nationwide lockdown.
The Prime Minister has continued to stand by his senior adviser over the journey, which Mr Cummings said on Monday had been taken to ensure childcare for his son after he and his wife fell ill.
But in an open letter, former Government whip Mr Ross said: “I have just tendered my resignation from the UK government and my position as under secretary of state for Scotland.”
He added: “There was much I still hoped to do in this role but events over the last few days mean I can no longer serve as a member of this government.
“I have never met Dominic Cummings so my judgement on this matter has always been open and I accept his statement on Monday afternoon clarified the actions he took in what he felt were the best interests of his family. However, these were decisions many others felt were not available to them.
“As a father myself, my instinct is to always do what is best for my son and wife. We have been fortunate not to have caught this awful virus but if we did, we are prepared to follow the government advice and stay at home to contain the virus.
“While the intentions may have been well meaning, the reaction to this news shows that Mr Cummings interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the government asked.”
The MP, first elected in 2017, said he had constituents who had been unable “to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government”.
And he added: “I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”
In response a Number 10 spokesman said Boris Johnson "regrets" Mr Ross' decision.
They said: "The Prime Minister would like to thank Douglas Ross for his service to Government and regrets his decision to stand down as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland."
Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: “Douglas was a fair and reasonable minister who has done the decent thing and resigned from a government that is out of control.
“Integrity has been sadly lacking from this government, especially over the last 72 hours, so I commend him for making this difficult decision.
“He understands that it’s not acceptable to have one rule for Boris Johnson’s closest adviser, another for everybody else.
“Douglas has shown more integrity than Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw and other UK Government ministers who have defended the indefensible and couldn’t be more out of touch with the people of Scotland and the UK.”