Constituent of Worthing MP Sir Peter Bottomley raises concern over Dominic Cummings saga interview

Letter from: Russell Boland, Half Moon Lane, Salvington

Dominic Cummings. Picture by Getty Images
Dominic Cummings. Picture by Getty Images

I am writing to express my incredulity at Sir Peter Bottomley’s appearance on BBC Broadcasting House on Sunday morning (May 24).

Mr Bottomley was invited onto the programme in order to comment on the Dominic Cummings story and began by criticising, in detail, a member of SAGE as left-wing, seemingly in between mouthfuls of toast, which were being consumed audibly on national radio before going on to cite Alastair Campbell, the late Robin Cook, the IRA and his mother-in-law during a shambolic, rambling car crash of an interview.

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However, I mention these points merely to set the scene. The main thrust of my disbelief was Mr Bottomley’s response to the host’s question: “Would you yourself have made the first trip...(to Durham)?”

Mr Bottomley replied: “I probably would,” before going on to make a distinction over the care of Mr Cummings’ son.

I am not writing to you in order to argue the individual points of this episode – instead I wish to illustrate that in my own particular circumstances, I have avoided contact with my own daughter, who lives in Mr Bottomley’s constituency, as do I, for several weeks now, since her mother is in a high-risk occupation.

Through a combination of being sufficiently civic minded and observant of the laws, I have endured the lockdown faithfully as instructed clearly by the governing party, of which Mr Bottomley is a long-standing member.

The Cummings story – and my MP’s comments – are to me akin to being told the lockdown does not apply to a select few, which is both astounding and insulting to me as a constituent denied access to my child, and I am certain to others who have had to stay away from hospitals while loved ones suffer inside alone, without the comforting presence of family and indeed, in many cases, be unable to attend funerals, the cruellest blow of the pandemic.

In essence, the lockdown has been a quid pro quo, in which we the public willingly surrendered our cherished freedoms, our ability to enjoy each other’s company, the ability to provide for our families, for which the exchange is a government working diligently to suppress the virus, thus allowing us, in time, to return to our normal lives.

With that comes leadership and a hugely important element of leadership is to be seen to be doing what you are instructing others to do – to live the idea of being in this together.

To witness my MP undermine this in such a casual fashion is simply unacceptable and a serious error of judgment. I would hope Mr Bottomley reviews his comments and takes the earliest opportunity to amend his position.