Scotland Office junior minister Douglas Ross has resigned, effectively as a result of Dominic Cummings’ recent breach of lockdown rules in Britain.
Earlier this week, British prime minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, Cummings insisted breaking the lockdown rules amid the nation’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic was necessary.
Cummings drove more than 250 miles from London earlier this year, to take his family to Durham after his wife had Covid-19 symptoms. He did not tell Johnson he was going to make the trip.
What Ross said
“While the intentions may have been well meaning, the reaction to this news shows that Mr Cummings interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the government asked,” said Ross, who will remain Tory MP for Moray.
“I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government.
“I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”
What Cummings said
Cummings has copped substantial criticism. Several Conservative MPs have insisted he resign. Ross is the first political personality to do so.
“I know the intense hardship and sacrifice that the entire country has had to go through. However, I respectfully disagree. The legal rules inevitably do not cover all circumstances, including those that I found myself in,” Cummings said in a statement.
“I thought and I think today that the rules, including those regarding small children in extreme circumstances, allowed me to exercise my judgment about the situation I found myself in, including the way that my London home had become a target — and all the complexity of the situation.
“I accept, of course, that there is room for reasonable disagreement about this. I could also understand some people think I should not have driven at all anywhere.
“But I had taken medical expert medical advice. It was 15 days after symptoms.”
The British government, meanwhile has confirmed the number of coronavirus-related deaths has climbed to 36,914.