By undermining his own government’s message, the Prime Minister is putting the people of Truro and Falmouth at risk

Lib Dem spokesperson, Ruth Gripper, has written to Truro and Falmouth MP Cherilyn Mackrory about the Dominic Cummings scandal.

Just days ago the Conservative MP called on people to respect lockdown rules and avoid travelling for overnight stays, but has so far remained silent on the Cummings story.

The letter highlights the sacrifices made by people in Cornwall and the confused messages being sent by government. The Cummings story undermines public health messaging at a time when people are still being urged to stay at home as much as possible.

This is critical for a popular tourist destination like Truro and Falmouth. Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police and Visit Cornwall have urged visitors to stay away for the time being, but the ‘free pass’ granted to Mr. Cummings for breaking coronavirus travel regulations makes a mockery of efforts to protect residents.     

The call comes alongside Liberal Democrat demands for an independent inquiry into the Government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, while several Conservative MPs have broken cover to call for Dominic Cummings to quit after he broke lockdown rules.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Truro and Falmouth, Ruth Gripper said:

"It is a worrying sign when people in positions of power start to believe the rules do not apply to them. By backing Dominic Cummings this weekend, the Prime Minister has sent message that either the rules weren't really that important, or that a different set of rules apply to senior government officials than to the rest of us. Which is it? I think the people of Truro and Cornwall deserve to know."

"People are justifiably angry about this. The government's message was clear: stay home, save lives. The vast majority respected these rules, often at great personal cost."

Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey added:

"The Prime Minister ought to understand that the public want to see strong and clear leadership during this health crisis, but the Cummings scandal has heaped yet more confusion on the Government's public health messaging.

"To get us through this crisis, and start to rebuild public trust, the Prime Minister must show leadership, terminate Cummings' contract, and commit to an independent inquiry into the Government's handling of this crisis."

The open letter from Ruth Gripper, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Truro and Falmouth, to Cherilyn Mackrory MP is below.

Dear Cherilyn,

People right across Cornwall have made huge sacrifices over the past two months as part of the national effort to stop coronavirus. They believed the Prime Minister's instructions that staying home was vital in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

We have seen people relying on volunteers to do their shopping and collect their medication. People saying at home, caring for children despite being ill themselves. People not visiting elderly parents for months. People not being able to hold a loved one's hand in their final hours.

People made these sacrifices because they believed that doing so meant they were protecting others.

I hope you can therefore understand why so many people are very, very angry about Dominic Cummings' actions in disregarding the rules that the people of Cornwall respected, often at great personal cost.

I note that just a few days ago you made the following comments about people travelling to stay overnight in Cornwall:

"Let me be clear, this is not on. These people are breaking lockdown rules which prohibit overnight stays away from your primary residence and the police have powers to fine them and send them home. My message to you is this. This irresponsible and dangerous behaviour risks the health and wellbeing of our coastal communities with a second peak of COVID-19."

It cannot be one rule for senior government officials and one rule for everyone else.

By backing Dominic Cummings, the message the Prime Minister has sent this weekend is either that the rules weren't necessary in the first place, or that a different set of rules apply to senior government officials than to the rest of us.

I would be grateful for your view on which of these is the correct interpretation, and whether you believe - as I do, and as a growing number of your Conservative colleagues do - that Dominic Cummings should go.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Ruth Gripper



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