Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus(Image: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire)

Country should ‘move on’ from Dominic Cummings row, Newark MP Robert Jenrick says

He also insisted the special adviser should not resign


Now is the time for the country to ‘move on’ from the row over Dominic Cummings’ breaches of lockdown rules, Newark MP Robert Jenrick has said.

Conservative Mr Jenrick, who is also the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, made the comments in an interview on the BBC’s Today programme this morning (Wednesday, May 27).

Yesterday, health secretary Matt Hancock said the Government would review fines given out to parents who were travelling for childcare - the reason given by Mr Cummings for his initial trip - however, hours later they announced they would not be doing this.

This morning Mr Jenrick - who himself was accused of breaching lockdown after a 40 mile trip to his parents’ house - insisted the special adviser should not resign.

Mr Jenrick said: “He said he went to Barnard Castle on a short journey to ensure that he was fit for the longer journey back down to London to get on with his job within the government.”

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He also said ‘short car journeys for exercise were allowed at the time’ during full lockdown, saying: ‘It was longer, unlimited journeys that were not.’

“His explanation for that was that he took the short journey in order to ensure he was up for the longer journey he knew he had to do back to London.”

Asked if he thought Mr Cummings should resign, he said: “No, he shouldn’t.

“He has given his explanation to the Prime Minister, who listened and concluded that he’d acted reasonably and legally.”

"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.’

“That’s not to say this isn’t an important issue or that people don’t care about it, but I think there’s a lot more that we need to focus on now."

When asked by interviewer Mishal Husain whether he understood the public’s anger over the issue, he 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 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.”