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Senior Tory MPs break ranks to urge Boris Johnson to sack Dominic Cummings over lockdown trip

Steve Baker is among the MPs demanding Dominic Cummings resign

4 min read

Several senior Tory MPs have defied Boris Johnson by calling on him to sack Dominic Cummings for travelling during lockdown.

Boris Johnson is facing a backlash from a raft of his own MPs after he refused to sack his senior adviser for allegedly breaching lockdown rules by travelling to Durham.

The Prime Minister has reportedly "thrown a protective ring" around Mr Cummings after he admitted making the 260-mile trip to stay near his parents after his wife began suffering coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Cummings has claimed he had acted "reasonably and legally" by leaving London due to fears he would not be able to care for his child if he also fell ill.

Meanwhile, Number 10 have claimed further reports that Mr Cummings made a second trip to Durham after his own bout of the illness were "misleading" and "false".

But Tory MPs, including former Brexit minister Steve Baker, have now demanded the adviser "must go" amid fears he is "burning through" the Government's "political capital".

Speaking to Sky's Sophie Ridge, Mr Baker, who worked alongside Mr Cummings on the Vote Leave campaign, said: "It is very clear that Dominic travelled when everyone else understood Dominic's slogans to mean stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

"And I think mums and dads who very much care about their children, and who have been forgoing the childcare of their extended family will wonder why he has been allowed to do this."

His comments come after senior cabinet ministers, including Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Attorney General Suella Braverman, took to Twitter to defend Mr Cummings, claiming his trip was permitted under the Government's guidelines.

But Mr Baker hit back at the remarks, saying: "Yesterday, Secretaries of State were out there with some quite thin lines trying to save Dominic, trying to change the newspapers for today, and it didn't work and it isn't going to work because the media are not going to let this go, because of the way they have been sneered at, and I'm afraid because of the way Dominic conducts his politics."

He added: "No one is indespensible, Dominic should go, and we should have a Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister who doesn't end up in the newspapers in this way."

He was joined by fellow Conservative MP, and former culture committee chairman, Damian Collins, who tweeted: "Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don't apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt.

"The government would be better without him."

North Thanet MP, Sir Roger Gale, added: "While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings’ desire to protect his child, there cannot be one law for the Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone else.

"He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable."

And Dorset North MP Sir Simon Hoare tweeted: "With the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the Government’s reputation he must consider his position.

"Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. It’s his cavalier 'I don’t care; I’m cleverer than you' tone that infuriates people. He is now wounding the PM/Govt & I don’t like that."

Their comments came as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps attempted to defend Mr Cummings, saying he had been "trying to do his best by their four-year-old child".

Meanwhile, Mr Shapps said that claims Mr Cummings had made a second trip to Durham in late April were "completely untrue".

He told Sky: "When he came back to London on 14 April, he has remained in London since and hasn't been back to Durham.

"There are lots of things which are being said here that are completely untrue. The basic story is actually pretty straightforward.

"Husband and wife are ill, they hunker down, they look after their four-year-old and they don't move until they are better. And coming back down to London afterwards would have been travelling for essential work, which was always allowed to do as well."

He added: "Once they were locked down, they sort of hunkered down and stayed in the same place... If you are going to lockdown you go to the place you are going to stay. The guidance is clear, particularly where young children are involved, it actually refers to children specifically.

"It says this isn't a perfect science essentially, the guidance says you'll want to take the steps which are practical to be able to look after your children, or child in this particular case, which in their case meant have a sister or a niece who could drop off food, and that is what they did.

"And they then remained in that place."

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