Dominic Cummings - image under creative commons licence

Two Conservative MPs in Cheshire have spoken out about the Dominic Cummings saga which is splitting the party and angering the nation.

Kieran Mullan and Edward Timpson, MPs for Crewe & Nantwich and Eddisbury respectively, have responded after hundreds of constituents flooded their inboxes.

Many are angry at Mr Cummings’ alleged breaches of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions back in March and April when he drove 260 miles from London to Durham.

A number of Cabinet Ministers and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have backed Mr Cummings, but more than 40 backbench Conservative MPs have called for him to be removed.

They fear his actions have undermined public confidence in the lockdown and could put wider public health at risk.

However, both Dr Mullan and Mr Timpson have stopped short of calling for Mr Cummings to resign or of fully supporting his actions.

Dr Mullan said: “I have had to have conversations with people talking about who from their family can and can’t come and visit their relative in the final few days of their lives.

“It is heart breaking for them and I cannot imagine how it must feel and I would be devastated to be in the same situation. It is people like this I have had in mind over the last few days.

“I have heard your voices, your anger about what has happened loud and clear and I have made it very clear to the government the hurt there is out there.

“It was right that the Prime Minister apologised for the hurt that was caused and that Mr Cummings accepts that people have every right to think he did the wrong thing.”

cummings - Kieran Mullan (Conservatives) acceptance speech(2) (1)

Kieran Mullan

However, Dr Mullan said he did want to join the “media firestorm” in calling for action against Mr Cummings.

“I know other people have wanted to do something like see a relative, they have wanted more help looking after their children, they have wanted to be closer to friends and family and they have made a sacrifice in not doing these things.

“But that doesn’t mean somehow what he did was done with malice or hatred for anyone or anything.

“You might have seen photos of dozens and dozens of photographers crowded outside his house when he tries to leave with his four year old son, you might have seen the video of dozens of people leaning out of their windows to shout at him as he walked down the street.

“They might be justified in how they feel, but I personally would never want to add to a situation like that.”

He claims his decision is “not because of party politics” and says he did not attack three Labour MPs over “questionable” actions in lockdown like attending a funeral.

“It does not add something for me to publicly join in a situation which the entire national press are covering non stop and dozens and dozens of commentators and politicians are piling into to. What does it add?

“Though, thinking about those relatives I mentioned at the start and how they feel I know it is important for you as resident to understand my view and to know your views have been fed back.

“It is my job to represent your views to government and I have been doing so all week.”

edward timpson, new Tory candidate for Eddisbury

Edward Timpson

Meanwhile, Mr Timpson has responded to more than 500 constituents who asked him for his reactions.

In a letter, he said: “Whilst it seems that Mr Cummings has arguably remained within the letter of the law, I fully appreciate that many of my constituents who have made entirely necessary sacrifices during the pandemic – and responsibly continue to do so – will not view that as enough.

“Equally I appreciate as a parent of four myself not every father will make the same decision under pressure. However, like you, I doubt whether I would have made the same decisions.

“But these are personal, moral judgements. In terms of what should happen next, I know you will agree with me that it is important that due process is followed.

“As you would expect, I have made personal representations to Government on behalf of all constituents who have contacted me.”

21 Comments

  1. Owen Evans says:

    I live in Crewe and I listened to the speech given by Dominic Cummings in the Rose Garden at no 10. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt as he made each statement, the longer he went on the more difficult it became. Each statement he made was followed by a slightly less credible statement until l was expected to believe it was sensible to drive to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight, only get out of the car because he felt unwell to sit by the river. It was nearly a stretch too far! I was then expected to believe he stopped at the woods to allow his young child to have a comfort break, deciding to stop a while to play together in the woods. His story lost all credibility. He only admitted being out in public spaces when he was spotted and recognised. One little piece of misinformation after another until we believed in his incremental deviation from the facts.
    I understand that some people will believe every word he said and they would have believed anything he had said. In other people’s minds he would never have justified his actions. I tried to listen to him with an open mind and take each statement on it’s merits as his actions can have far reaching consequences for us all. I was lied to.
    This is not a media firestorm, it’s a personal firestorm coming from deep inside someone who doesn’t like being lied to by people in positions of authority who are meant to be protecting us in this time of crisis.

  2. The fact that the press gathered outside Mr Cummings’ house after he was caught breaking the law is neither here nor there.

    Dr Mullan is 100% correct – this is not about party politics. It is about right (Stay at Home / Protect the NHS / Save Lives) and wrong (taking your symptomatic wife and young child from home and travel to childcare, knowing that you yourself have been in very close proximity with the PM who has tested positive withCOVID-19 / moving from a virus hotspot to an area where there were far fewer cases / put the whole public health message at risk).

    Nobody has to join a media firestorm to know the difference. What Mr Cummings did was far worse than sneak out to attend a funeral or hold a birthday party – he travelled with the virus and broke quarantine. The police agree that he would have been cautioned if discovered at the time.

    Dr Mullan says that it is important for his constituents to understand your view on this matter. But I don’t. I understand that he don’t want to get involved. As a doctor, he of all people should be able to see the damage done to the public health message. As my MP I would expect him to be emphasising that what Mr Cummings did was simply wrong. He could phrase it as misguided. He could say that he wouldn’t have broken quarantine under those circumstances, he could call for an apology from Mr Cummings … but he does nothing.

    If an employee brought his firm into disrepute he would be sanctioned. Mr Cummings has broken the law and got away with it, destroyed public trust in the government (his employer) and got away scot free.

    It seems that Dr Mullan and Mr Timpson think that this is reasonable behaviour – I and many thousands of people around the UK disagree and do not like being treated as expendable foot soldiers in the war against the virus.

  3. Mr Mullan is a very weak MP this is a time for new MP’s to make a name for themselves and show strength of character and even though I voted for him at the elections this area has not had a voice since the late Gwynneth Dunwoody.
    On reflection did I really vote for him or Boris?

  4. Eric Shaw says:

    These two will find their lack of action on this will come back to bite them at the next election. As for Cummings his actions will lead to many people ignoring future advice or instructions concerning social distancing and people will die. He has to go to show the Government is serious about fighting this pandemic.

  5. David Kirk says:

    Can those criticising Cummings please say what he was supposed to have done in making sure that his four-year-old child was cared for? Call the social services?

    • Well not drive to ‘test his eyesight’ for a start…

      • His wife had family within 3 miles of their home who could have looked after the child if necessary. And we criticise because of the lies he told e.g. that he had predicted a coronavirus pandemic last year – when internet records proved that he had added those references to CV on the day after he got back from Durham. He shouldn’t have been given the rose garden status to lie to the public

    • Paul Savvides says:

      I support Cummings he sees it as doing best for his son everyone else it’s about stopping brexit

  6. I am very disappointed in the apologetic responses of Dr Mullan and Mr Timpson, who appear to hear, yet not hear the voices of their constituents. This is not a party political issue. it is essentially a moral and ethical one. It defines us, displays what kind of a people we are, what we value. Cummings broke the rules. No amount of reinterpretation of rules/laws/regulations changes that. To argue such is political, some would say dishonest, manipulation. Are deceit and dishonesty central to our governance?

    The rules and regulations, are about our community, about ‘US’. They say that ‘WE’ must act in a certain way, in spite of our own interests, to protect all of ‘US’ – the community as a whole.

    Most of us did that, willing to pay an enormous price. The horrific exponential growth in infection and death slowed. Cummings’ defence, – and indeed some ministers defence of Cummings , – is based on precisely the opposite values: his personal judgement of what was best for himself. All of us. who acted on what was best for the community, have successfully sought to protect others from disease and death. We relied on everyone else to behave likewise. If more of us behaved like Cummings, it is certain that more people would die. That is the direct consequence of such actions.

    Why can’t Dr Mullan and Mr Timpson bring themselves to say so? How can a medical man effectively tolerate the destruction of a policy, which gave a prospect of getting us through this,- to save the skin of an adviser? The longer the government ‘toughs this out’ the greater the risk of serious damage to the reputation of the prime minister and the conservative party. Observers from overseas are appalled at the ill-governance and incompetence of a nation that was highly respected. We desperately need our government and our mps to open their eyes, get a grip, take a strategic view that works for everyone. It has to about more than egos, selfishness and power.

  7. Phil Withy says:

    It is up to the Police to decideif he has broken any rules or legislation.
    It is up to Boris Johnson to then decide whether or not he should be dismissed.
    However, the guidance at the time was that if you had COVID-19 symptoms you were not to leave your home.
    Mr and Mrs Cummings both left their home.
    The guidance also stated that if you did not have symptoms then you should stay at home and work from home unless it was impossible to do so.
    The guidance also stated you should not go to other homes.
    Mr and Mrs Cummings went 250 miles to another home.
    The guidance also stated not to make unnecessary journeys.
    If your vision is impaired you should not drive on the roads.
    Mr Cummings made a 60 mile round trip by driving to Barnard Castle with defective eyesight.
    The trip to Barnard Castle took place on the birthday of Mrs Cummings.
    It’s quite clear what really happened and the storyline has obviously been made to fit the circumstances.

    • You havent referred to the exceptions. Thankfully the Police have confirmed his trip to Durham came under those. His eye testing has been found to be a minor breach of which they say , would not have attracted a Fine , only guidance..

      Like him or not , there is a witch hunt for him and a certain group want him out of the way , by hook or crook.

      I think we can all agree there are better things to be concentrating on.

      All the best Phil and Family.

  8. Jeanne Dow says:

    Oh dear. Towing the party line by ostensibly listening to their constituents, feigning some sort of empathy, doing a bit of light whataboutery – then asking us to move on and forget about it. Interestingly they didn’t comment on the ‘one rule for them, one rule for us’ debate. (At least they didn’t play the ‘some reports patently false’ card.) Very disappointed that they’ve sold their soul, but it’s inevitable I suppose.

  9. I agree with this . Mr Cummings was receiving death threats and was being harassed .He has also explained how he kept to the rules re transmission, rigidly. He clearly panicked knowing they were both likely to be unable to cope there , under siege. Having seen the Islington mob, it is very frightening. It was an unusual situation all round and I believe he did the best thing. The press should be looking at proper breaches like Ian Blackfords 600 mile trip to Skye . Mr Cummings has an important role and I thank him for his valuable contribition. I hope those affected by grief see that this was not an intended flagrance and also see the lies printed by the Press , that have whipped it up to this . An article by Brendan Oneil inThe Spectator titled ‘ The real Dominic Cummings Scandal ‘ , printed yesterday , is a very good and accurate account of why this has been sadly catapulted out of control.

    I wish everybody well and hope this plague gets eradicated soon.

  10. I live in Nantwich and I believe Cummings, can we please move on really past caring. Far more important issues to worry about

    • Simon Latham says:

      I live in Nantwich also. I don’t believe Cummings but you are 100% right. Let’s just get on with it.

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