Coronavirus cummings & goings

So, the coronavirus guidance says if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, do not leave home for any reason, unless you need to find someone to look after your toddler. Which is why Dominic Cummings was following the guidance when he drove 260 miles from London to Durham with a car full of coronovirus, just so that his sister could look after his four-year-old son while he and his wife lay in bed with that coronavirus.

Or something. It probably won’t take you long to find the flaw in the above argument. However, it appears to have gone over the heads of several Cabinet ministers, who – led by Michael Gove at 10:28 am – took to Twitter on Saturday to express their outrage at the political point-scoring about a man doing what any good person would do to look after their wife and toddler. Even though the guidance says any good person shouldn’t do that.

Including Leader of the Lords Baroness Evans (who is not on Twitter), there are 26 full members of the Cabinet, but Environment Secretary George Eustice and Scottish Secretary  Alistair Jack are also not on Twitter. And it’s not looking that great for The Great Toddler Carer. As of 11pm, only 14 Cabinet members have tweeted their support (if we include Chief Secretary Steve Barclay’s restrained RT of Rishi Sunak’s tweet, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s equally restrained and somewhat belated RT of Dominic Raab’s tweet, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s even later RT of Matt Hancock’s tweet, and Minister Without Portfolio’s Amanda Milling’s RT of Rishi Sunak’s tweet).

However, if we reach the position where a clear majority of the Cabinet have expressed the view that it is OK to flout the coronavirus guidance so long as you are only doing what any good person would do, does that mean the lockdown is over?

We should be told. In the meantime, here’s a record of who’s said what, so far.

Position Name Tweet Comment
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Chancellor Rishi Sunak Taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable, trying to score political points over it isn’t. Tweeted at 11:19
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab It’s reasonable and fair to ask for an explanation on this. And it has been provided: two parents with Coronavirus, were anxiously taking care of their young child. Those now seeking to politicise it should take a long hard look in the mirror. Tweeted at 10:53
Home Secretary Priti Patel RT’d Dominic Raab’s tweet
Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove Caring for your wife and child is not a crime


Tweeted at 10:28

Later RT’d Rishi Sunak’s tweet

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland Nothing so far
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace Nothing so far
Health Secretary Matt Hancock I know how ill coronavirus makes you. It was entirely right for Dom Cummings to find childcare for his toddler, when both he and his wife were getting ill. Tweeted at 12:52
Business Secretary Alok Sharma The circumstances have been explained, the guidance was followed. Time [to] stop the political attacks and move on as we work together to combat this awful virus Tweeted at 14:23
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss Nothing so far
Work & Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey Nothing so far
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson RT’d Matt Hancock’s tweet
Environment Secretary George Eustice Not on Twitter
HCLG Secretary Robert Jenrick Nothing so far
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Nothing so far, but strongly defended Cummings at Saturday’s press briefing
NI Secretary Brandon Lewis Father looks after child, within guidelines…..&…?


It is fair to have questioned this – but an answer has been provided. Acting in the best interests of your family (and within the Government’s guidelines) is not a crime

Tweeted at 12:12 and 12:16
Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack Not on Twitter
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart Nothing so far
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden Dom Cummings followed the guidelines and looked after his family. End of story. Tweeted at 16:49
International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan The key ask to all citizens has always been to isolate as a household whilst any one of them is symptomatic. The responsibility of parenthood and needing family support in case extreme illness struck, is a situation any parent would understand & sympathise with. Tweeted at 12:08
Minister without portfolio Amanda Milling RT’d Rishi Sunak’s tweet
Chief Secretary Steve Barclay RT’d Rishi Sunak’s tweet
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg Caring for your child is obviously reasonable. Surely any parent of a three year old would want to ensure they are safe at all times. Politically motivated attacks on a good father are discreditable. Tweeted at 13:05
Lords Leader Baroness Evans Not on Twitter
Chief Whip Mark Spencer Nothing so far
Attorney General Suella Braverman Protecting one’s family is what any good parent does. The [10 Downing St] statement clarifies the situation and it is wholly inappropriate to politicise it. Tweeted at 13.40

And here’s how those tweets are doing (as of 8am on 24 May).

About wonkypolicywonk

Wonkypolicywonk is a policy minion, assigned wonky at birth, who has been lucky enough to work for two of the very best MPs in the House of Commons, and before that at Maternity Action, Working Families, Citizens Advice, the National Audit Office, the Law Society, and Amnesty International UK. Oh, and at McDonald's.
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3 Responses to Coronavirus cummings & goings

  1. David Morris says:

    Terrific analysis WPW. There really is nothing like a fact when you’re hungry. I think we need not detain ourselves by looking for the truth in anything Michael Gove says, only the impact the position he’s borrowed gives it. The British people are incapable of agreeing what reasonable behaviour is. Otherwise, having a few extra people at a funeral with the honest assurance they would distance would have been permitted. Similarly we would have been allowed in parks in greater numbers, in the knowledge we would maintain separation. So, sadly, Instructions had to be issued which turned out to achieve the almost impossible feat of being at once unclear yet containing minimal permission to intelligently interpret. Amazingly, a significant portion of society and quite a lot of Enfield obeyed. Joker Cummings occupies his own borough of self-importance, but has no right to break those instructions, regardless of the degree of additional risk. Because then we can all do it, and the whole pack of cards comes down

  2. Pingback: Dominic’s cumming home | Labour Pains

  3. Pingback: Cumming up roses | Labour Pains

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