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2nd Jul, 2022

MP Nadhim Zahawi backs Dominic Cummings in lockdown row

Ian Hughes 1st Jun, 2020 Updated: 1st Jun, 2020

NADHIM Zahawi does not agree senior Government adviser Dominic Cummings should go – unlike fellow Warwickshire MPs.

Both Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright and Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, were quick to explain last week why they believed it was right for Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Mr Cummings to step down after driving his wife and child to County Durham during lockdown, rather than isolating at his London home.

But Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi, responding to Stratford Labour Forum, said he did not believe Mr Cummings had not broken Government guidance.

Mr Zahawi said: “I listened closely to Dominic Cummings’ statement. I believe it was right for him to address the situation personally, to correct many of the inaccurate allegations circulating up to that point, and to explain the reasoning behind his and his wife’s decisions.

“Official guidance makes clear that exemptions to lockdown restrictions are allowed in cases where a child’s welfare is at stake, a position also reiterated by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.

“Mr Cummings did not travel to County Durham to spend time with his parents and relatives, for a holiday, or to visit his sick uncle who has now sadly passed away. Travelling for these reasons would not have been permitted under official guidance, even in the latter case with which many who have experienced similar tragedies will so sadly be familiar.

“It’s worth noting that, on multiple occasions during the past two months, I have brought this very advice to the attention of constituents experiencing similar dilemmas due to vulnerabilities they or their dependents were facing. I therefore do not accept the claim that the rules were somehow different for Mr Cummings when he made his decision to travel to County Durham – they were the same.

“I accept Mr Cummings’ account of events and his explanations of the reasons behind his decisions. I do not believe that he ultimately broke any official guidance. I will therefore not be calling for his resignation and will continue to support his remaining in post.”

Steve Bowman-Finch, of Stratford Labour Forum responded to Mr Zahawi’s statement.

“You are quite right that the government website does suggest that people with children only have to follow the government advice to the best of their ability.

“However, the NHS requirements make no such concession. It is very clear: stay home, do not go out for any reason if you or a family member are showing symptoms.

“Why did the government therefore choose to contradict the medical advice, especially when we have been told on multiple occasions that you are following the science?”

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