Arundel and South Downs MP defends Cummings over Durham lockdown trip

Arundel and South Downs’ MP has defended Government advisor Dominic Cummings for a trip he made from London to County Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.

Chief Advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings makes a statement inside 10 Downing Street (Photo by Jonathan Brady-WPA Pool/Getty Images) SUS-200526-094003001

Mr Cummings, Boris Johnson’s most senior advisor, has faced intense scrutiny over the bank holiday weekend when it emerged he had driven 260 miles to his parents’ estate in late March.

Opposition parties have criticised the decision with some suggesting it was one rule for the Prime Minister’s closest advisor and another for everyone else.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Andrew Griffith was one of many Tory MPs to tweet his support on Saturday, saying: “Another media non-story when there are so many important ‘real’ stories of this crisis and the important recovery to come that need our focus’.

Mr Cummings held a press conference on Monday night where he argued he had acted ‘reasonably’ and within the law.

He claims after his wife became ill he decided to make the drive to be near his parents so that their son would have childcare if they both became incapacitated.

But several national newspapers have printed allegations that Mr Cummings was later seen in Durham after returning to London, but he denies going back up north.

Afterwards Mr Griffith, who was group chief operating officer at Sky and then Mr Johnson’s chief business advisor, tweeted: “Calm, fulsome and reasonable explanation given by DC just now. Sunlight shone on the situation. Media to now crawl back under rocks.”

In response Alison Bennett, Lib Dem group leader at Mid Sussex District Council, said: “I am really shocked by this tweet.

“Andrew is showing a total disregard for the feelings of Arundel and South Downs constituents who have respected the rules sometimes at great personal hardship and cost.”

He then replied: “Shocked that you are shocked. An ill wife, a hospitalized child and you (and your leader Ed Davey) want to play politics and condemn?”

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.