A junior British government minister to Scotland resigned Tuesday over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s failure to fire his top aide for breaching coronavirus lockdown rules by traveling to visit his family.
In a resignation letter he also posted on his Twitter account, Under Secretary of State for Scotland Douglas Ross said Dominic Cummings took actions and made decisions “many others felt were not available to them.”
Johnson has stood by Cummings over his decision to drive 400 kilometers to his parents’ house at the end of March, despite a national order for people to remain at home.
Cummings said he traveled so that extended family could care for his 4-year-old son if he and his wife, who both had suspected coronavirus infections, fell ill.
But as Ross noted in his letter, many Britons feel Cummings made a mockery of the rules established by the government to stop the spread of the disease, even when it meant staying away from loved ones.
Ross said, “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," he wrote. "I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”
Johnson has stood staunchly by his adviser, saying Cummings “followed the instincts of every father and every parent.”
On Tuesday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove insisted that Cummings "didn’t break the law. He didn’t break the rules. He sought to protect his family.”
But Cummings’ road trip has drawn criticism from scientists, doctors, bishops and Britons across the country.