Kent MP 'frustrated' by Dominic Cummings row

A Kent MP says she has been left feeling "frustrated, cross and confused" over the debate over whether the senior government advisor Dominic Cummings should resign. Chatham and Aylesford's Tracey Crouch says she has been inundated with messages of concern by her constituents since Mr Cummings allegedly broke the lockdown rules not long after they were introduced.

Tracey Crouch MP

During the daily news briefing yesterday, Boris Johnson threw his support behind his top advisor, saying he had acted correctly. This followed calls by two other Kent MPs for Cummings to be sacked.

In a post on Facebook this morning, the former sports minister responded by saying she understands people's concerns but during the pandemic, spending time replying to angry constituents is not what she should be doing.

She said: "I am not sure I have felt, in my 10 years as an MP, so frustrated, cross, confused or impotent as I do now. "I have never met or spoken to Dominic Cummings. I have no truck for him but then I also have no axe to grind.

But a couple of points in defence, it is being said parts of the newspaper stories are untrue and it is the case that the deputy chief medical officer said at a Downing Street conference if you have adults unable to look after a small child, that is an exceptional circumstance. "But, here is my frustration. My team and I have worked like Trojans since the start of lockdown to try and give the correct interpretation of guidance to constituents.

So when a row like this rages, it makes me as your MP put my head on my table and want to cry. "Everyone's lives have been turned upside down so we can fight this pandemic and keep capacity in the NHS and even though I point back to my first paragraph of 'in defence' I can fully understand the anger of my constituents. "Should Dominic resign or be sacked?

This is not for me to say and I don't recall calling for anyone in any party to go over mistakes.

'I don't really subscribe to the lynch mob, now or at any time, in part because I don't think I would like the world to decide whether a member of my extremely loyal and able team should be sacked. Treat others how you expect others to treat you. "At a time when we should still be focusing on the remaining weeks of this pandemic, spending my days replying to understandably cross and angry constituents is not what I should be doing.

"And this is also why I feel impotent in many respects. Lockdown is not over yet. I have to keep interpreting guidance and saying to constituents you can or you cannot do x, y, z.

At the moment, and quite frankly, that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street.

Picture: Matt Dunham/PA Wire.

Ms Crouch added she has also had to consider what would happen to her four-year-old son if she became unwell. The post continued: "At the start of lockdown I came down with something. But I didn't have a cough or a temperature so wasn't tested (or even suspected) to have coronavirus.

I remember laying in bed thinking what if both Steve and I came down with coronavirus - who would look after our four-year-old son? "My thought process was along these lines - my sister (no, she is a teacher and her son is a police officer so cannot take a potentially infected child), my mum (no, she has a severe health condition), his dad (no, he is in his 70s and in Cornwall). "My initial considerations were about the impact on other people's circumstances and I will be absolutely honest not once did I think hang on are there rules about this.

"Not because I think the rules don't apply to me but because why would there be rules without any flexibility that would leave a four-year-old in a situation with both parents incapacitated."

Cllr Vince Maple.

Picture: Medway Council

Meanwhile, Medway Labour leader, Cllr Vince Maple, who previously stood against Ms Crouch in the general election, took a harder line on Mr Cummings' behaviour. He said: "It is completely unacceptable and I am incredibly angry that so many people made personal sacrifices following the rules and the actions of the prime minister's right hand man flies in the face of all of that." KentOnline has contacted several MPs this morning asking for comment.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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