Tory revolt grows to 38 MPs amid concerns that Dominic Cummings' actions could lead to more deaths

Amy Jones
A growing number of MPs are calling for Dominic Cummings to resign - GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images/GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images
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A growing number of Conservative MPs are calling for Dominic Cummings to step down amid concerns that his actions may cost lives

More than three dozen backbenchers have defied the party whip to call for the departure of Boris Johnson's most senior aide from Number 10.

On Sunday night, the Prime Minister launched a defence of Mr Cummings – but MPs and Cabinet colleagues have expressed fears that the move risked "seriously undermining" the Government's lockdown strategy.

Former Brexit minister Steve Baker was the first to break ranks on Sunday when he warned that the aide was "burning through Boris's political capital at a rate that we just can ill afford in the midst of this crisis".

Here are all the MPs who have criticised Mr Cummings and called for him to go: 

Steve Baker

The senior member of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers toured TV studios on Sunday to insist that Mr Cummings "must go".

He said: "If he doesn't resign, we'll just keep burning through Boris's political capital at a rate we can ill afford in the midst of this crisis. It is very clear that Dominic travelled when everybody else understood Dominic's slogans to mean 'stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives'.

"He is not always right, he is certainly not indispensable to Boris. No one is. I just think this is the end of the road. He has at the very least not abided by the slogans that he has enforced on the rest of the country, and that is why he should go."

Peter Bone

The Conservative MP for Wellingborough and Rushden said Mr Cummings "has to go" because he broke the rules and has not apologised.

Speaking on LBC on Sunday, he said: "When an adviser becomes the story, the adviser has to go. Boris Johnson can carry on without Dominic Cummings if he goes, but it will be hard if he stays."

Damian Collins

The Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe said in a tweet: "Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don't apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt. The Government would be better without him."

Jeremy Wright

Former attorney general Jeremy Wright has added his name to the growing list of Tory MPs to call for Dominic Cummings to go.

The Kenilworth and Southam MP said that "technical compliance [to the guidelines] cannot be the only consideration". 

"Our continued success in combating the virus may well rely on more of that and Mr Cummings' actions and his justification of them will, in my judgment, make it less likely that others will continue to interpret those exceptional circumstances clauses restrictively.

"This is more important than the position of any individual in Downing Street and therefore, fairly or unfairly, I have concluded that it would be better for Mr Cummings to leave his position at Downing Street."

Mark Harper

The former chief whip  has said there is "no credible justification" for Dominic Cummings' trip to Barnard Castle, and that he is "disappointed" by the chief adviser's lack of apology. 

Mr Harper, who has served as a junior minister in the Cabinet Office, Immigration Minister and Minister for Disabled People, has tweeted a statement saying that while an argument can be made for Mr Cummings' actions it is "certainly not the conclusion I would have reached, given the sacrifices many are having to make". 

Mr Cummings should have resigned, and the PM should have accepted his resignation, he adds.

Jackie Doyle-Price

In a statement on Facebook the MP for Thurrock said: "At a time when the public is looking to Government for leadership through this dangerous pandemic, this handling has been ill-judged. This is advice I conveyed to the Government on Saturday as I believe did a number of MPs.

"Frankly this has been a very embarrassing episode for the Government. To bring this sorry chapter to an end I am afraid Mr Cummings has to go.

Sir Roger Gale

Sir Roger, the Conservative MP for North Thanet, joined the chorus of backbenchers calling for Mr Cummings to resign.

He tweeted: "While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings' desire to protect his child, there cannot be one law for the Prime Minister's staff and another for everyone else. He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable."

Robert Goodwill

In a letter to a constituent, Mr Goodwill said he believed Mr Cummings' position was "untenable" and he "should be relieved of his post". However, he has not yet spoken out publicly against the adviser.

Simon Jupp

The MP for East Devon said he would have "considered my position" if he were in Dominic Cummings shoes. 

The member of the Transport Select Committee, has joined the growing number of Tories to publicly show their disquiet about Boris Johnson's chief adviser. 

He posted a message to constituents on Facebook, saying: "Like you, I have felt a mixture of anger, disappointment and frustration in recent days.  We are all making significant sacrifices and coping with situations we couldn’t imagine just a few months ago. Many of us, including myself, have lost people in our lives and haven’t been able to see family and friends."

Mr Jupp said "hundreds" of people had contacted him about the row, and he had "made the strength of feeling in East Devon clear to the party leadership". 

Although he says Mr Cummings' actions were "motivated by a father’s desire to do what he felt was necessary to protect his family in exceptional circumstances, if placed in the same situation I wouldn’t have made the same decisions and would have since considered my position".

He added: "This has been a deeply unhelpful distraction we could do without as a nation dealing with a pandemic."

Laurence Robertson

The Tory MP has issued a heart-wrenching plea to the Prime Minister to dismiss Mr Cummings, saying the pain of not being able to visit his own father as he died of coronavirus "will haunt me for the rest of my days". 

The Tewkesbury MP, who told Boris Johnson of his father's death during a recent parliamentary debate, has emailed his constituents saying that he has "found the rules to be personally heart-wrenching". 

He added: "On May 5, my father died of coronavirus and the pain and guilt of my being unable to visit him as he fought for his life will haunt me for the rest of my days. I wouldn't wish this situation on anyone, but I know that many of my constituents have suffered in the same or similar ways.”

But Mr Robertson reminded residents that we "really do need to be all in this together".

"I have, therefore, spent yesterday and today urging the Prime Minister and all those closely connected to him, to recognise the strength of feeling which exists on this issue and to dismiss Mr Cummings without further delay.”

Stephen Metcalfe

The South Basildon MP has told constituents he believes Dominic Cummings should resign, despite keeping silent publicly so far.

Mr Metcalfe, previously the chair of the Science and Technology Committee, wrote to a local resident saying: "To restore faith in the rules and to allow us to move on and prepare for the next stage in lifting the lockdown, Mr Cummings should consider his position and resign".

James Gray

While Mr Gray has not yet publicly called for Mr Cummings to go, he made his thoughts clear in a letter to one constituent. "Having him continuing at the heart of Government undermines our credibility and the strength of our message," he wrote.

Simon Hoare

Conservative MP Mr Hoare tweeted: "With the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the Government's reputation, he must consider his position.

"Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. It's his cavalier 'I don't care, I'm cleverer than you' tone that infuriates people. He is now wounding the PM/Govt & I don't like that."

Stephen Hammond

In an e-mail to constituents the former transport minister states: "It is clear that Mr Cummings has broken the guidelines which we all were instructed to follow. I find his explanation unconvincing.

"I am angry that so many have sacrificed so much for public safety and yet this man has decided his interpretation of "doing the right thing" overrode the clear instruction of Stay at Home. His selfish act has undermined our, and my, efforts to keep Wimbledon safe."

"Mr Cummings should of course have resigned as any honourable person would have done and not put everyone else in this wholly invidious position. I cannot defend the indefensible and I have no intention of doing so. I have always tried to do the best thing for Wimbledon and it is now served by Mr Cummings leaving his role."

Philip Davies

The MP for Shipley said it was now time for Mr Cummings to resign.

He said: "It is admirable of the Prime Minister to be loyal to his staff and to seek to defend and support those who work for him.

"Dominic Cummings should now repay that loyalty to the Prime Minister by resigning his position for the good of the Prime Minister, the government and the country."

Peter Aldous

The MP for Waveney said on Monday morning that he had changed his mind on the issue and it was now time for Mr Cummings to stand down.

He said: "At a time when the country must move on to the next stage of defeating Covid-19, of getting back to work whilst ensuring that there is not a second peak, there must be no distraction from this challenge.

"The Government should recognise what families have gone through and what people are thinking and saying. It is thus important that Dominic Cummings should now stand down."

John Stevenson

The Carlisle MP said those in power "have added responsibility" to obey the rules. He said: "Mr Cummings holds such a position. Therefore in my view, in the interests of the country Mr Cummings should resign."

Andrew Jones

The Harrogate and Knaresborough MP has written his constituents saying: "It seems clear to me that Mr Cummings has broken the guidelines which we were and are all expected to follow. For that reason I think that he should resign, and if he does not do so then he should be dismissed."

Tim Loughton

In a Facebook post on Sunday night, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham wrote that he had "come to the conclusion that the position of Dominic Cummings is untenable as the chief adviser to the Government and he must resign or be removed". 

He said: "That is a great pity for someone who has contributed so much to Government in various forms and whose intellect and strategic thinking are truly impressive. But his continuing in the role any longer can only undermine the authority of the Prime Minister and the Government at a time when both need to be completely focused on getting the nation through the next stage of the Coronavirus crisis."

Harriett Baldwin

Former minister Harriett Baldwin said: "While I have every human sympathy with Dominic Cummings, I think there is a higher bar for members of the Government.

"If the Government wants people to follow the public health advice in order to protect our NHS and save lives, then members of the Government giving that advice, including the Prime Minister's adviser, need to follow it too.

"The Government relies on moral authority to receive the consent of the people to such draconian reductions in their freedoms. Therefore, for the sake of future adherence to public health guidelines, I believe he should resign."

Paul Maynard

Former minister Paul Maynard was withering in his response to the Prime Minister's defence of Mr Cummings.

The Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP said: "I can only share the collective dismay and I understand the widespread anger. So many people in this constituency have gone out of their way to stick to both the letter and the spirit of the guidelines and laws, despite it coming at great personal emotional cost.

"It is a classic case of 'do as I say, not as I do' – and it is not as if he was unfamiliar with guidance he himself helped draw up. It seems to me to be utterly indefensible and his position wholly untenable."

Jason McCartney

In a Facebook post, the MP for Colne Valley, said: "We must have confidence that we are doing the right things for the right reasons and that we are all truly in it together. For that reason, I believe Mr Cummings' position is now untenable."

Robert Largan

High Peak MP  Mr Largain said there cannot be "one rule for the public and another for politicians" in a Facebook post.

"If all the reports about Dominic Cummings are true, then I believe his position is untenable and he should resign," he wrote.

Sir Bob Neill

The MP for Bromley and Chislehurst said that while he had "sympathy" for Mr Cummings wanting to protect his family, he said his actions had "sent the wrong message and undermined the collective effort that we have all been making".

He added:  "We cannot have a suggestion of one rule for some and a different one for others. So I recognise and understand the real anger, hurt and disappointment that many people now feel. We cannot allow the economic, physical and emotional price that families and businesses have made to go to waste, and we cannot allow the key public health messages to be clouded.

"The Prime Minister has a genuine record of loyalty to the people who work with him. I respect that. However, for the reasons I have set out, and to avoid future distractions from our common message and purpose, I believe that Mr Cummings should now step down from his post."

Elliot Colburn

The Conservative MP for Carshalton and Wallington, said he had written to the Prime Minister calling for Dominic Cummings to resign.

In his letter to Boris Johnson, Mr Colburn wrote: "I have received more emails on this than on any other issue since being elected - many hundreds of messages from concerned constituents - and I join them in that view.

"I feel it necessary to stress the importance of continued public trust and engagement with the measures being taken to overcome this crisis. "At this critical time, as we start to relax some of the measures we have asked people to live with for many weeks now, we must ensure the public feel willing and able to continue social distancing and engage positively with those that continue to be in place to avoid a second spike.

"I fear this could undermine that effort."

Caroline Nokes

The chairwoman of the Commons women and equalities committee said she has informed her party whips there could not be "wriggle room" for some people when it comes to lockdown rules.

The former immigration minister tweeted: "I made my views clear to my whip yesterday. There cannot be one rule for most of us and wriggle room for others. My inbox is rammed with very angry constituents, and I do not blame them. They have made difficult sacrifices over the course of the last nine weeks."

Mark Garnier

The Wyre Forest MP told the BBC that Mr Cummings should offer his resignation.

He said he had received more than 300 emails and letters on the subject, and made his mind up after listening to the Bishop of Worcester.

Bob Stewart

In a Facebook post, the MP for Beckenham said Mr Cummings' position had become "untenable".

He asked: "So, going back to the rules, did Cummings break them? The answer is yes – on the face of it.

"Technically, Cummings could argue that he was exercising his right under the 4th acceptable reason for going outside: a requirement to ensure his child was in a safe place when he and his wife were ill or about to be so.

"I am afraid, though, I find that very weak. Even if he was technically allowed to leave his house for the sake of his child it looks very bad that he went 240 miles and hardly an example to the rest of us. The truth is, whether Mr Cummings broke or didn't do the right thing, he certainly destroyed the spirit of the rules by what he did."

Julian Sturdy

The York Outer MP tweeted: "As more information is revealed, I believe it is becoming clearer that Dominic Cummings' position is no longer tenable. The PM needs to publicly address the situation without delay."

Sir Robert Syms

The Poole MP tweeted: "The Government has to explain test, track and trace and the next phase of lifting lockdown next week.

"Whatever the merits of a Government adviser, they should never be the story or it detracts from the central message which is to get us out of this crisis. The adviser should go."

Craig Whittaker

The Conservative MP for Calder Valley in West Yorkshire said Mr Cummings' position was "untenable".

He tweeted: "I'm sure he took the decision in the best interests of his family but, like every decision we take, we also have to take responsibility for those decisions. You cannot advise the nation one thing then do the opposite."

Mark Pawsey

The MP for Rugby said Dominic Cummings "acted very much against the spirit of the lockdown rules" and said it was time for the Prime Minister to "ask for his resignation".

He said: "He has not expressed any regret for the damage his actions have caused to the Government, or to the sense of collective effort in staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.

"Many constituents have pointed out that if everyone had behaved as Mr Cummings did, the success of our lockdown policy would have been undermined.

"Almost every one of them has set out, sometimes in heart breaking detail, the personal sacrifices that they have made during the immensely challenging months since the coronavirus outbreak.

"As such, I believe that it is wrong that Mr Cummings remains in an important post in Government."

Martin Vickers

The Tory MP for Cleethorpes said Mr Cummings had "undermined the Government's message" and should have resigned.

David Warburton

Mr Warburton told BBC Breakfast that his father had died alone as a result of the coronavirus lockdown and said the story gives an impression of "double standards".

He said: "People have made sacrifices... Instinct hasn’t really been part of it. Ideally, if he broke the rules then he obviously should be subject to the same kind of consequences as anybody else who broke the rules... To me, enough is really enough, I think he's damaging the Government and the country that he's supposed to be serving."

George Freeman

The former minister and MP for Mid Norfolk said he feared the "Cummings lockdown truancy saga will mark the end of public trust" in Downing Street.

He warned that the scandal could "undermine virus control", leading to an "extended lockdown".

William Wragg

The influential chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee said: "We cannot throw away valuable public & political good will any longer.

"It’s humiliating & degrading to their office to see ministers put out agreed lines in defence of an advisor. This is a time of national emergency and our focus must be unrelenting. We owe it to the nation."

Alec Shelbrooke

The executive member of the 1922 committee has told one of his constituents he thinks Mr Cummings' position is "untenable", despite publicly appearing to back the adviser. 

Mr Shelbrooke, MP for Elmet & Rothwell and a privy counsellor, told a local resident he had initially felt Mr Cummings had acted to safeguard his child. 

However, Mr Shelbrooke said the reasons given for the family's Barnard Castle trip were not justifiable. 

"Many of my constituents, myself included, have made difficult decisions in the last few months and I believe the decision Mr Cummings made to travel to Barnard Castle was wrong and outside the regulations," he said. 

"For that reason I believe his position is untenable."

Tracey Crouch

Former minister Ms Crouch posted on Facebook: "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 had to tell people they can't go to funerals, say goodbye to the ones they love, see the family newborns that they will grow to love, visit the graves of parents, siblings or worse, children, and visit friends who are dying."

However, she did not go so far as to call for Mr Cummings to step down, adding: "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 am pretty peed off though. At a time when we should be still 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."

Andrew Percy

The Brigg and Goole MP has written to his constituents telling them he believes Mr Cummings should go.

Jeremy Hunt

The chair of the Health and Social Care Committee is not calling for Mr Cummings to resign, but admits he was in "clear breach of lockdown rules".

He said that Mr Cummings had made several mistakes "both in terms of the guidance which was crystal clear, and in terms of the signal it would potentially give out to others".

Douglas Ross

The junior minister for Scotland resigned his post over the issue, but did not call for Mr Cummings to resign.

In a statement he said: "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."

Karen Bradley

In a Q&A session on The Telegraph's live blog, the former Northern Ireland Secretary called for clarity on Mr Cummings' movements.

The Staffordshire Moorlands MP said: "The public has suffered enormously under lockdown and the impact on the economy means that the suffering will be very long lasting for far too many.  People have put up with this because they trust the Government and they know we are suffering.  

"Until this week, I have never received so many messages of support for the Government, and the PM personally. However, any suggestion that someone at the top bent the rules undermines that trust and support and make it much harder for the public to follow future advice and do what is needed to save lives.  

"We all need to know exactly what happened and why.  And an apology for any flouting or bending of the rules is essential."

Dehenna Davison, Paul Howell and Richard Holden

The three County Durham MPs released a statement on Tuesday night, saying Mr Cummings' press conference had "dealt with a number of our concerns".

It goes on: "It is our collective view that, above all else, this continuing situation is creating a major distraction from the vital work of the Government as it leads our country in combatting the global Coronavirus pandemic."

Robert Halfon

Mr Halfon apologised to his constituents for originally tweeting in support of Mr Cummings.

The MP for Harlow, in Essex, wrote on his Facebook page: "I would first like to make it clear to residents that I regret writing the tweet in the way I did about the Number 10 political adviser and his movements. I am really sorry for it. I do not support, or condone anyone who has broken the law or regulations. Anyone who has done so should face the consequences."

Christian Wakefield

The 'red wall' MP has said Dominic Cummings should be "reprimanded" for breaking the lockdown, saying his actions went against "the spirit - if not the letter" of the guidelines.  

The Bury South  MP, who was first elected in December, said it was "absolutely vital he leads by example", adding that Mr Cummings should have "the courage to admit his judgement was questionable". 

"He has undermined the essence of the Government's key 'Stay at Home' messaging and muddied the messaging moving forward when we need clarity more than ever," Mr Wakeford said. 

The MP has told senior figures within Government his views, he added. 

Lee Anderson

The MP for Ashfield has called for answers on whether or no Mr Cummings broke lockdown rules once in Durham.

He wrote on Facebook: "Cummings should have a chance to come back on this as it is clear that he travelled to another house to live with his family but it is not clear if he came into contact with other members of his family or has been out and about as suggested. If it's the latter, then he should go."

Alexander Stafford

The Rother Valley MP revealed in a Facebook post that he had personally sacrificed a great deal because of coronavirus, being unable to see his newborn daughter for "some time" because of the restrictions.

He said: "We don't have all the facts, and nor should we make quick decisions based on partial information, which is why I have been and continue to seek proper and true answers to get to the bottom of what happened. To me, not only the letter of the law needs to be obeyed but the spirit of it too."

Peter Gibson

The MP for Darlington has called for an investigation into Mr Cummings' movements, warning that if "rules have been broken the consequences need to be faced", saying: "Such an investigation needs to be swift in order that we can all move on and get back to dealing with the next stage of this crisis."

Jonathan Gullis 

The MP for Stoke-on-Trent North has told constituents they can "rest assured I’ve conveyed the strength of local feeling to relevant colleagues".

Paul Holmes

The Eastleigh MP delivered a near identical message to his colleague Mr Gullis, saying he had "conveyed the strength of local feeling to relevant colleagues very robustly in Government".

Rob Roberts

The MP for Delyn joined mounting calls from his "blue wall" colleagues to ask for a "proper investigation" into the matter. He added: "If Mr Cummings has acted inappropriately according to an investigation, then he should go."

However, after Monday's press conference he changed his stance, saying he acted with in "best interests" of his child and it was time to "move on".

Derek Thomas

The MP for West Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, claims the Dominic Cummings "situation could have been handled very differently".

He said: "In these situations the media circus and public interest can often become problematic as the incident itself and it is imperative that the Prime Minister retains control of the situation and I've fed this view into Government."