Douglas Ross, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and a Tory whip has resigned after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s aide breached lockdown rules.
Mr.Dominic Cummings, who is the special adviser to Boris Johnson, travelled more than 260 miles to his parents’ home during lockdown
The top Downing Street aide who has been facing pressure to apologise or resign said on Monday that he had no regrets breaking lockdown by travelling to Durham in March.
Making a statement in 10 Downing Street’s rose garden, Mr Cummings said: “I don’t regret what I did. I think reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in the circumstances, but I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances.”
He explained that he made the decision to take his wife Mary and their four-year-old son to a house near to his parents’ home in County Durham after she called him on March 27 to say she was feeling extremely ill and feared she had coronavirus.
The top aide also denied that this amounted to a breach of lockdown regulations and said he had not considered stepping down because it’s “up to the prime minister” to decide.
“The rules made clear that if you are dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances.
And I think that the situation that I was in was exceptional circumstances and the way that I dealt with it was the least risk to everybody concerned if my wife and I had both been unable to look after our four-year-old.”
He told reporters he had not considered standing down and said it was “up to the prime minister” whether he remained in government.
On Tuesday morning, Ross announced his decision to quit as a junior minister in the Scotland Office after Dominic Cummings failed to apologise or resign for breaching lockdown rules.
He said he accepted Cummings felt he had acted in the best interests of his family but these were “decisions others felt were not available to them”.
In a letter to Boris Johnson published on Twitter, he wrote: “I have never met Dominic Cummings so my judgement on this matter has always been open and I accept his statement on Monday afternoon clarified the actions he took in what he felt were the best interests of his family.
“However, these were decisions many others felt were not available to them.
“As a father myself, my instinct is to always do what is best for my son and wife. We have been fortunate not to have caught this awful virus but if we did, we are prepared to follow the government advice and stay at home to contain this virus.
“While the intentions may have been well-meaning, the reaction to this news shows that Mr Cummings interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the government asked.
“I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government.
“I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”
I haven't commented publicly on the situation with Dominic Cummings as I have waited to hear the full details. I welcome the statement to clarify matters, but there remains aspects of the explanation which I have trouble with. As a result I have resigned as a government Minister. pic.twitter.com/6yXLyMzItJ
— Douglas Ross MP (@Douglas4Moray) May 26, 2020