The Prime Minister is facing renewed pressure from Tory MPs to sack Dominic Cummings.
Boris Johnson has stood by his adviser Dominic Cummings despite growing calls for his resignation after breaking lockdown rules.
Number 10 initially batted off the Guardian and Mirror investigation into Cummings’ movements during lockdown as activities of “campaigning newspapers”.
However, Tory backbenchers have started to openly call for Cummings to resign or be sacked.
These are some of the MPs calling for Cummings to go:
A prominent Brexiteer and an executive of the 1922 Committee, Steve Baker is a powerful enemy to have on the backbenches. He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We are now in a nonsense position, a pantomime position where it seems if you wish to apply a wide common-sense interpretation to the rules you can do, at least if you work in Number 10.”
“It’s ridiculous it’s got to stop and Dominic should go. If he doesn’t resign, he will just be burning through Boris’ political capital at a rate that we can ill-afford in the midst of the crisis.”
Another prominent Brexiteer, Peter Bone told Sky News there cannot be a “rule that applies to everyone except the government elite. [Cummings] should have come out and apologised and said this was a bad mistake and I’m sorry about it and I shouldn’t have done it… But to try and pretend he didn’t break the rules just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.”
He later said the vast majority of Conservative MPs think Cummings should go.
After Boris Johnson spoke at the Downing Street briefing, the North Dorset MP, Simon Hoare, told the Daily Mail: “The PM’s performance posed more questions than it answered. Any residual hope that this might die away in the next 24 hours is lost.”
He also tweeted that Cummings’ attitude is “wounding the PM/government”.
Damian Collins was scathing in his assessment of the situation and said the government would be better off without him. Collins previously found Cummings in contempt of parliament for refusing to appear before the culture select committee, which he chaired.
Tim Loughton has been an outspoken critic of Cummings and said he should never have been appointed as an adviser in the first place.
Later on Sunday, Loughton issued a statement on Facebook in which he said: “I have been concerned at the considerable damage that this story is doing to the Government and most crucially to its authority to carry on the important work it needs to continue to do to keep us all safe.”
“It is with regret therefore that I have come to the conclusion that the position of Dominic Cummings is untenable as the chief adviser to the Government and he must resign or be removed. That is a great pity for someone who has contributed so much to Government in various forms and whose intellect and strategic thinking are truly impressive.”
“But his continuing in the role any longer can only undermine the authority of the Prime Minister and the Government at a time when both need to be completely focussed on getting the nation through the next stage of the Coronavirus crisis.”
Jason McCartney issued a similar statement on Facebook: “We must have confidence that we are doing the right things for the right reasons and that we are all truly in it together. For that reason I believe Mr Cummings’ position is now untenable.”
Sir Roger Gale
After the PM’s address on Sunday, Sir Roger Gale tweeted he was “disappointed” by the response”.
The Calder Valley MP said Cummings’ position as adviser to the PM was “untenable”.
He tweeted: “I’m sure he took the decision in the best interests of his family but like every decision we take we also have to take responsibility for those decisions. You cannot advise the nation one thing then do the opposite.”
Julian Sturdy also said Cummings’ position was no longer tenable. In a statement posted on Twitter, the York Outer MP said: “Over the last 24 hours I have been contacted by a number of constitutents regarding Dominic Cummings.”
“As more information is revealed, I believe it is becoming clearer that Dominic Cummings’ position is no longer tenable and the government need to urgently refocus on our national priorities, namely our efforts to manage the Covid-19 outbreak.”
“Ultimately this is a decision for the Prime Minister and I believe that he needs to publicly address this situation without delay. Continued speculation only serves to exasperate the understandable anger felt by many of the public.”
Former Cabinet minister, Caroline Nokes, said: “There cannot be one rule for most of us and wriggle room for others.”
Syms tweeted: “Whatever the merits of a government adviser they should never be the story or it detracts from central message which is to get us out of this crisis. The adviser should go.”
Former minister Paul Maynard said: “It is a classic case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’… It seems to me to be utterly indefensible and his position wholly untenable.”
Cummings’ actions “undermine the message, which was very clear that people should stay at home,” Martin Vickers told SKy News.
“I’m afraid Mr Cummings has let the government and Mr Johnson down in that respect. He should have done the decent thing and stood down.”
Peter Aldous said he had previously been sympathetic to Cummings but this morning said: “The Government should recognise what families have gone through and what people are thinking and saying. It is thus important that Dominic Cummings should now stand down.”
David Warbuton told the BBC his own father died alone as a result of the lockdown measures, and the Cummings story gives an impression of “double standards”.
“Enough is really enough, I think he’s damaging the government and the country.”
Bob Stewart said Cummings had “certainly destroyed the spirit of the rules by what he did. It will make it very difficult for us, the rest of the population, to accept the largely voluntary restraints we have lived under for 9 weeks.”
He went on to say his position is “untenable”.
The MP for Carlisle said the country had sacrificed “a lot over the last few weeks. People in positions of power have added responsibility.”
“Therefore in my view in the interests of the country Mr Cummings should resign.”