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Conduct of Mr Dominic Cummings during the COVID-19 pandemic

Volume 678: debated on Wednesday 8 July 2020

The Petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that the Prime Minister’s Chief Advisor, Mr Dominic Cummings, driving 260 miles to Durham during lockdown for childcare reasons when he and his wife were displaying symptoms of COVID-19, acted against the UK Government advice to “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”; further notes that driving a 60-mile round trip to Barnard Castle to test if his eyesight was suitable for driving was potentially dangerous to himself, his family and other road users, and also breached the “Stay at Home” message; further declares that the support from the Prime Minister and other senior members of the Cabinet for Mr Cummings’ actions weaken the efforts for public compliance with the stay at home and social distancing requirements; and further notes that the whole episode has upset many people who have abided by the rules and guidance, missing out on the chance to say goodbye to loved ones, not being able to see new-born members of their families, and missing family contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to conduct an inquiry into the conduct and justification of the Prime Minister’s Chief Advisor and that he be requested to consider his position; further to instruct all special advisers to adhere to the same rules as other members of the public.

And the petitioners remain etc.—[Presented by Patricia Gibson, Official Report, 10 June 2020; Vol. 677, c. 362 .]


Petitions in the same terms were presented by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun Alan Brown [P002573]; the hon. Member for Glasgow East David Linden [P002574] and the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North Gavin Newlands [P002579].

Observations from The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Chloe Smith):

The Government greatly appreciate the sacrifices being made every day by families fighting the spread of covid-19.

On 24 May, the Prime Minister explained that Mr Cummings had given him a full account of his actions and the reasons for his decisions, which Mr Cummings then set out publicly on 25 May. Mr Cummings explained that he believed he acted appropriately because of the need to care for his young child and protect his family at a time when his home in London had become a target for abuse. The Prime Minister accepted Mr Cummings’ explanation of his conduct and stated that

“reasonable people may disagree about some of the decisions that he took, but I don’t think reasonable people can disagree about what was going through his head at the time and the motivations for those decisions."

Durham constabulary has made clear it is not taking any further action against Mr Cummings and that by locating himself at his father’s premises he did not breach the regulations. The Prime Minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and he considers the matter closed.

It is now time for the country to move on and focus on tackling the coronavirus pandemic together and in doing so, we all must stay alert, to control the virus and save lives.