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Shropshire MP raises constituents' Cummings concerns to senior members of Government

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | Coronavirus | Published:

Shropshire MP Mark Pritchard says he's made the views of his constituents clear to senior members of the Government after being bombarded with emails over Dominic Cummings' 260-mile lockdown trip.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aid Dominic Cummings is under fire over his trip to Durham.

Mr Cummings, the Government's most senior advisor, has been under pressure to resign since it was revealed that he travelled from London to Durham with his wife and child, with suspected coronavirus in early April.

Mr Johnson said the journey was necessary because Mr Cummings and his wife were concerned they could be incapacitated and unable to look after their child.

The advisor has been backed by the Prime Minister and several of the county's MPs, including Lucy Allan, Daniel Kawczynski, and Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams.

Writing on Twitter Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, said his inbox had been filled with emails from members of the public about the matter, and had passed their views to the Government.

He said: "I have received a high volume of emails concerning the actions of Dominic Cummings. I can assure all who have contacted me that I have made their views clear to senior members of government."

Mr Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury & Atcham said that as parents, Mr Cummings and his wife had taken actions to make sure their child was cared for.

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He said: "My understanding is that both Mr Cummings and his wife were ill with suspected coronavirus.

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"Under these circumstances they needed to think how their four year old child was going to be cared for and protected.

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"They drove to a property near their family members. These family members dropped food and essentials for them as they self isolated with their child.

"I obviously don't have the exact nature of their private intimate way in which they as parents made this decision.

"I do know however that a few days before their action one of the chief scientists stated that when a child is involved in this type of circumstance then exceptions clearly have to be made."

Mrs Allan had expressed her support for Mr Cummings over the weekend when she retweeted a comment from chancellor Rishi Sunak saying "taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable", adding "well said Rishi Sunak. The politics of this national crisis has become vile."

Philip Dunne MP for Ludlow declined to comment on the matter.

Several Conservative backbenchers have joined calls from opposition parties for Mr Cummings to quit or be sacked, amid warnings that his actions have “undermined” efforts to fight coronavirus.

What were the regulations?

Government regulations at the time stated people with symptoms were to "stay at home for at least seven days from when your symptoms started".

Guidance on essential travel at the time did not include trips to self isolate, stating: "Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays.

"People must remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk."

However, the Government website does add that people could travel to "provide care or help to a vulnerable person".

Former minister Steve Baker said if Mr Cummings does not resign “we’ll just keep burning through Boris’s political capital at a rate we can ill afford in the midst of this crisis”.

The PM also came in for stinging criticism from bishops, who accused him of treating people “as mugs” and with “no respect” after he opted to stick by his chief aide.

The Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, tweeted: “The question now is: do we accept being lied to, patronised and treated by a PM as mugs?”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said it was his “understanding” from the Prime Minister that Mr Cummings and his family did not break the law in their trip to Durham during lockdown.

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