Ed Davey: PM’s own judgement now in question

Responding to the Prime Minister backing his scandal-hit aide, Dominic Cummings, at today’s press conference, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Millions of people who’ve made huge sacrifices to keep to the rules will be astonished and angry at how the Prime Minister is now bending the rules for his closest aide.

By failing to act, the Prime Minister undermines his own authority to lead the country through this appalling crisis, bringing his own judgement into question.

The Government’s efforts to defeat coronavirus on testing, on PPE for frontline workers and on stopping the tragedy in our care homes are still inadequate. The Prime Minister’s failure to act on this scandal won’t help turn that around.

Conservative MPs must stop defending the indefensible and support our calls for Dominic Cummings to go.

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13 Comments

  • Tony Greaves 24th May '20 - 9:44pm

    Here is my latest updated summary of the rule-breaking by the Cummings household.

    (1) He clearly broke the rules that were in force during the first part of the lockdown about TRAVEL (and specifically car travel).

    (2) He broke the rules about ISOLATING for 7 days a person who had clear Covid symptoms. His wife had symptoms when they travelled and Sky News today were quite clear that he had as well.

    (3) In any case he broke the rules about isolating a HOUSEHOLD for 14 days when someone in that household had clear Covid symptoms. Isolating means staying put in your own home – the rules were and are very clear about that.

    (4) He broke the rules that applied to everyone about not VISITING another household during the lockdown and not allowing visitors from another household. (If they did not meet family members In Durham then the stated purpose of their trip was nullified anyway).

    (5) They drove 30 miles to Barnard Castle for a DAY OUT while still under lockdown. (This has now been checked with the car number plates as well as the reported sighting of them).

    (6) In spite of writing articles describing their experience they hid the fact they had travelled to live in Durham. (Not a crime but not honest in view of the questions that were being asked about his whereabouts.)

    Whether or not he/they travelled back to Durham at a later date seems to await further information. No doubt the media will dig out the truth one way or the other.

  • Despite all his intellectual and moral deficits it is puzzling that Johnson wanted to be PM. He probably just wanted to become it. It should have been clear to him that being No. 1 means just that: having no one left to resort to, but being the one all others expect direction from. A daunting prospect even for the strongest, especially in times of a national emergency. Was there really nobody who told him: that’s not you. Or did he disregard any personal advice? His critics knew it for years, but since a few months even his biggest fans must inevitably come to the same conclusion: unable to conduct himself and lead others. Cummings is just a symptom. But by holding on to Cummings today, Johnson has shown the nation that he knows himself that he cannot be a leader. Luckily, unlike Trump, he is no directly elected president. The conservatives must remove him, and do so fast. In the nation’s and his own interest.

  • Johnson said Cummings “had behaved as any parent would have done”, and denied it was one rule for some and another rule for others…

    With Johnson’s history as a father who said ‘irony is dead’?

  • As a father Johnson knows how to do a runner.. BTW what’s happened to the Russian influence report? Surely it won’t say they financed Vote Leave?

  • Our present Prime Minister has made so many errors of judgement such as refusing an extension of the transition period and not looking after eu citizens living here that it is not surprising that he is defending his principal advisor. Perhaps he will start making more reversals now he has got started with school reopening. Getting things right the first time does not seem to be in his skills box.

  • Something has clear about the Johnson/Cummings duo. They’re past masters at trying to evade the truth, but they’re also past masters about being shambollically late and incompetent ….. except for yesterday, when Johnson skedaddled 20 minutes earlier than scheduled at the end of his press conference.

    They were late and incompetent when they went for lock down on 23 March – 11 days later than Norway and Denmark and 10 days later than Germany (13 March).

    We now have approaching 40,000 deaths. Norway 235 deaths, Denmark 562 and Germany 8,367.

    UK population, 67 million ; Norway & Denmark just over 5 million each ; Germany over 83 million.

    That old rascal Lloyd George could have been prophesying it back in 1915 :

    “Too late in moving here. Too late in arriving there. Too late in coming to this decision. Too late in starting with enterprises. Too late in preparing”.

  • This whole incident just sums up this present government and they will probably get away with it again, I just hope and pray that they do not!

  • Both Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings claim that his journey to Durham complied with the law. You can find the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, as they applied on the dates of his journey here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350/regulation/6/made

    Regulation 6.1 states:
    During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.
    Regulation 6.2 starts:
    (2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need—
    and there follows a list of reasonable excuses.
    None of the reasons in Regulation 6(2) apply to the journeys made by the Cummings family. One does relate to children, but this is limited to “children who do not live in the same household as their parents”.

    Therefore, if Johnson and Cummings believe that his journey complied with the law, then it must be acceptable for anyone else to invent their own reasonable excuse.

    On 28th March, Boris Johnson wrote a letter to every household in the UK, where he said “That is why we are giving one simple instruction – you MUST stay at home”.

  • Richard Underhill 25th May '20 - 6:32pm

    “you MUST stay at home”
    Does this apply to next time?

  • Richard – I think the explanation is obvious – there was a typo in the latter that Boris Johnson sent to the nation. What it was meant to say was “you MUST stay at your parents’ home”.

  • “then it must be acceptable for anyone else to invent their own reasonable excuse.”

    It is! The sub sections of 6.2 are a handful of examples of what is reasonable. It’s not an exhaustive list. You have always been allowed out for reasonable reasons.

    Part of the problem here is that people feel conned by having locked down far harder than the law actually requires. Cummings is one of tbe architects of that so deserves all he gets, but let’s not fall into the trap of elevating the No 10 guidance & sloganeering to a status that it never had (and should never have).

  • Richard Underhill 26th May '20 - 9:02am

    “Conservative MPs must stop defending the indefensible and support our calls for Dominic Cummings to go.”
    This should also include former MPs such as Michael Howard whose loyalty is beyond “reasonable”.

  • @Barry Lofty: I’m not sure they will this time (although they probably would if JC was still LOTO). As I wrote in another comment thread, it looks like the Tories have seriously misjudged the public mood on this one. It always seemed to me likely that the present lot would eventually make a serious misstep that would cost them dearly. The only surprising thing is that it’s happening so soon. Zac Goldsmith made two miscalculations — his dog-whistle Mayoral campaign with no dogs to hear it, and his vanity resignation over Heathrow — that made him damaged goods as far as the electorate were concerned. We may be seeing the same thing now happening with Johnson and Cummings.

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