‘Dominic Cummings episode was highly regrettable’ says former Council leader

One of the leading Conservative figures on the Isle of Wight said the whole Dominic Cummings episode was highly regrettable and is concerned the actions could have an adverse effect on the Island’s lockdown.

David Pugh, chair of the Isle of Wight Conservative Association, said: ” I appreciate that this issue has attracted a lot of interest, comment, concern and – in some quarters – anger.

“I think the whole episode is highly regrettable, and I am concerned that the recent statements made by both the PM and Mr Cummings have evidently not brought closure to this matter. We will have to see what the next few days bring us.”

Mr Pugh said said he has received a relatively small number of comments from Conservative members, expressing both negative and positive views in regards to the trip taken by Dominic Cummings, a special advisor to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

At a press briefing on Monday, Mr Cummings refused to apologise after it was revealed last week, that he took his wife and their son to Durham, after lockdown restrictions were imposed, so they could have family help with childcare — despite having symptoms of Covid-19.

After initially refusing to comment on the actions of Mr Cummings, Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, Bob Seely, said it was regrettable that more consideration was not given to how it may be perceived but after the statement on Monday, the explanation seemed ‘entirely reasonable’ and hoped now people could move on.

He said: “There are significant and important things that we need to focus on. Dominic Cummings’ understandable attempts to look after his family is not one of them.”

Isle of Wight Conservative councillors, including the leader and deputy leader, refused to comment on his actions but some, however, again including the leader of the council, showed their support on social media, ‘liking’ tweets that defended Mr Cummings.

Vix Lowthion, Green Party representative, asked how could the council leader tell people to stay away from the Island, whilst condoning these actions? She said: “Many Islanders would have loved to have welcomed vulnerable relatives to isolate here on the Island, but we followed the rules and told them to stay away. At great personal and economic loss.

“Is it one rule for us, and another rule for Conservative party politicians?”

Other political representatives on the Island have also not seen eye-to-eye with Mr Seely and have called for Mr Cummings to resign or the Prime Minister to sack him.

Nick Stuart, chair of the Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats, said Mr Seely needed to recognise the anger at the ‘weaselly’ nature of Mr Cummings and listen to Islanders.

“Dominic Cummings should have resigned or been sacked by now for his failure to follow his own lockdown rules.

“The architect of the Government response to Covid flouting the very behaviour he starkly presented to us. “Stay at Home” A simple message to save lives and public health. So the arrogance of someone choosing to drive over 500 miles to Durham and back and now getting his minions to tell the public it was all ok is breathtaking.”

The Island’s Labour chair, Julian Critchley, said: “Thousands of Islanders have denied ourselves and our families the contact we so desperately want, to keep others safe, by following the government’s rules. Even at the cost of missing final goodbyes to dying relatives.

“This is why what Cummings did is so appalling, and why Johnson and his cabinet’s backing of Cummings is so utterly toxic.

“To suggest that we who obeyed the rules did so because we didn’t care for our families as much as Cummings did is disgusting and insulting.”