Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, made a statement at Downing Street on Sunday (Image: PA)

Tory councillor calls on Dominic Cummings to apologise for lockdown journey

Bill Binks has been unable to travel down to south-west England to see his family after his daughter-in-law died of cancer


A Tory councillor who has not been able to see his family since his daughter-in-law died from cancer has insisted Dominic Cummings should apologise for travelling from London to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.

Bill Binks, who represents Johnstone North and surrounding villages, said he was “disappointed” the Prime Minister’s chief adviser had not said sorry for driving 260 miles with his family just four days after the lockdown was enforced and after his wife had shown symptoms of Covid-19.

Councillor Binks revealed he had not been able to see his family in south-west England after his daughter-in-law tragically died and won’t be able to attend her funeral due to restrictions.

But he said making the journey would “never have crossed his mind” and it shouldn’t have crossed Mr Cummings’ either.

Meanwhile, other Renfrewshire Tory councillors have been reluctant to criticise Boris Johnson’s top aide, with one even admitting he was hardly aware of the debate at all.

Councillor Binks insisted Mr Cummings would have to resign if he did not apologise.

He said: “About five or six days ago, my-daughter -in-law died after having cancer. The last time I saw her was in January and I don’t think I’m going to be able to go to the funeral.

“However, it would not have entered my mind to travel down there [to south-west England].

“I do not think he [Mr Cummings] should’ve done it in hindsight.

“I am a bit disappointed he hasn’t given a genuine apology. I think it’s inevitable that, if he doesn’t, he will have to resign.”

In a statement, Mr Cummings said he did not regret making the trip and believed he had acted within the law.

He said his wife had fallen ill on March 27 and he drove to Durham that evening to stay at a cottage on his parents’ farm, as he had concerns about childcare for his four-year-old son.

He then developed Covid-19 symptoms on March 28 and made a car journey to Barnard Castle from Durham on April 12 to test his eyesight and see if he was ready to drive back to London.

Mr Johnson insists his aide acted legally.

Councillor Binks added: “He has probably done what any worried parent would have done.

“I think a key word was missing from his statement, that he panicked a bit. I think if he had described his emotions a bit more, that would have helped.”

Councillor Binks said the Renfrewshire Council Tory group had discussed the situation.

But when the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) spoke to group leader James MacLaren, he admitted he knew little about the debate.

“I have not been following it that closely, “ said Councillor MacLaren.

“I don’t think his journey would’ve made much difference to the spread of the virus.

“He has his reasons for doing it and it was his own interpretation of the rules. I am of the opinion lockdown should be eased anyway.”

Councillor Alistair Mackay also confessed he did not watch Mr Cummings give his statement.

He told the LDRS: “I did not watch it, so I do not know what he said.

“I don’t really have any knowledge on the workings of these people in Downing Street. Maybe you think I’m more important than I am.

“I do not like to get involved with party politics.”