"Dominic Cummings should have resigned": Ian Blackford suggests government cover-up

23 May 2020, 14:57

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The SNP's Commons leader told Matt Frei that Boris Johnson must make sure Dominic Cummings "doesn't serve one more hour in office".

Ian Blackford was adamant that Prime Minister's most senior adviser should step down from his role after being caught out flouting coronavirus lockdown rules he helped implement.

"Quite simply Dominic Cummings should have had the sense to realise that what he has done is wholly wrong," the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber told Matt Frei.

"He should have resigned."

Mr Blackford said he believes the government has covered up Mr Cummings' lockdown breach and that now is the time for answers.

"There's a responsibility now on the Prime Minister, and I think that one of the most remarkable things about this is we now know that others in No 10 were aware of this," the SNP Commons leader argued.

"So there are some key questions for the Prime Minister to answer: When did he know about this? Did he sanction it? Why wasn't Dominic Cummings sacked? Why is it that this appears to be a cover-up? And why weren't the public told and we had to wait until this was broken in two newspapers this morning?"

Ian Blackford called on Dominic Cummings to resign
Ian Blackford called on Dominic Cummings to resign. Picture: PA / LBC

He added: "We were told the story about how he was isolating at home but we now know none of this was true.

"I think the real crux of this matter is that so many people up and down the United Kingdom have accepted the advice from the Government to stay at home, protect the NHS and to save lives, to make the sacrifices that millions have done. People that are not able to see their families, people that have lost loved ones and haven't been able to attend funerals the way that they would normally do, and have done that on the basis of the government advice.

"The closest adviser to the prime minister has wilfully broken the government's own guidance. That is simply not acceptable and Dominic Cummings should have done the right thing and he should have resigned as a point of principle on this."

When asked what he would have done in the same situation, Mr Blackford said: "With respect, that's a question you should be putting to Dominic Cummings because he is responsible for making sure that his children are looked after.

"If anybody thinks it's reasonable to drive more than 250 miles in the situation where your family members have got Covid-19, exposing others to risk, exposing other family members to risk, elderly family members, I think instinctively people would know that was wrong.

"Of course the children have to be looked after and mechanisms have to be put in place. This simply wasn't the way to do it.

"Dominic Cummings must recognise that this was against the guidance and as a consequence of this there has been police intervention."

He added: "Neil Ferguson has had to resign, Catherine Calderwood in Scotland, the chief medical officer had to resign. I'm sure in his heart of hearts Dominic Cummings knows that he's crossed a line and the prime minister has a responsibility to make sure this man doesn't serve one more hour in office."