Move on! Government tells public to stop being outraged about Dominic Cummings


The government has told the public to "move on" from the outrage over Dominic Cummings' behaviour.

During a tour of broadcast studios this morning, Tory Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick repeatedly used the phrase, suggesting there were more important things to worry about.

It comes amid a growing revolt in Boris Johnson's party, with at least 30 Tory MPs having now publicly called for Mr Cummings to be sacked or to resign.

And a YouGov survey for The Times showed the Conservative lead over Labour dropped by nine points during the Cummings saga, as support for the Government fell four points to 44% with Labour rising five points in the week to Tuesday, to 38%.  

Senior ministers have expressed public support for the defiant adviser but there are reports a number of Cabinet members have privately called for him to be ousted from No 10.
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But Mr Jenrick told the Radio 4 Today Programme: "We can continue to discuss the finer details of Dominic Cummings' blog for as long as you want, but I think the public, now.

"This is not diminishing the public interest in Mr Cummings - but I think the public now would prefer us to be talking about the track and trace system that we're introducing next week, the PPE, the other challenges that we're facing as a country - or indeed my responsibilities as housing secretary."

Mr Jenrick said there will not be a review of UK lockdown fines for childcare-related travel, as promised by Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night.

He said: "No, there isn't going to be a formal review. It's for the police to decide whether to impose fines under the law.

"They have the guidance that we've provided and the national police chiefs have provided their own guidance, which does give officers a degree of discretion to use their common sense, reflecting the fact that all of our circumstances are different and families, in particular, face particular challenges.

"They are encouraging their officers to engage in the first instance, to explain and to resort to fines only where absolutely necessary and in most cases that is what's happened."

Mr Jenrick added: "Dominic Cummings didn't break the guidelines, the police haven't chosen, as far as I'm aware, to impose a fine upon him, and so I think we have to leave it there."

He said the explanation given by Mr Cummings over his reasons for travelling to Durham was "reasonable".

Asked if he could understand the anger of the public over the issue, Mr Jenrick said: "I can and many people would disagree with the decisions that Dominic Cummings made, both members of the public and members of Parliament."
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But, he added: "He set out why he made those decisions and his motivations, which were to protect his unwell wife and his young child, and to self-isolate at a household somewhere where he believed he could get the childcare and support that they needed.

"I think that that's a reasonable explanation and it's a legal one, it doesn't look as if any of the guidelines or the rules have been broken.

"My view is that now we accept that and we move on because there are many, many more important issues that we need to be talking about."

The Prime Minister will be quizzed at a Commons committee meeting on the decision of Mr Cummings to drive from London to Durham during the shutdown.