Blackford Tells Johnson Cummings Must Go

Ian Blackford (pictured) has told Boris Johnson that he must “put public health first” and remove Dominic Cummings from post – in a meeting with the Prime Minister moments ago.

The cross-party meeting began at 1.15pm, just after the confirmation by Durham Police that Mr Cummings broke the regulations.

In the meeting, Ian Blackford told the Prime Minister that keeping Mr Cummings in post was undermining public trust in the UK government and its health message – putting lives at risk. Other opposition parties echoed the call.

The SNP Westminster Leader pointed to warnings from leading public health experts, senior police officers, and polling showing 65% of the public think Mr Cummings conduct will make it less likely that people will obey lockdown rules.

The meeting this afternoon was attended by the Prime Minister and the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Labour, Lib Dems, DUP, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green Party and Alliance Party.

It comes as a public petition on the issue nears one million signatures – and a growing rebellion of Tory MPs has called for the Prime Minister to take action.

Commenting after the meeting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:

“I told the Prime Minister that he needs to put public health first and remove Dominic Cummings from post.

“There cannot be one rule for the Tory government and another for everyone else.

“We now have confirmation from Durham Police that Mr Cummings broke the regulations – and we already know that he broke UK government guidance.

“His position is completely untenable.

“This has become a question of Boris Johnson’s judgement and integrity.

“As I said in the meeting, there is serious concern that this scandal is eroding public trust in the health guidance and distracting from efforts to tackle coronavirus – including the success of test, trace and isolate schemes, which rely on public adherence to the rules.

“When Catherine Calderwood broke the guidance she apologised, took responsibility, and the police also took no further action – but she still had to resign.

“The Tories demanded it at the time, with Jackson Carlaw saying “There cannot be one rule for bosses and another for everyone else.”

“In today’s meeting, Boris Johnson said we need to build up public confidence and people need to observe the rules.

“Many people will find that gobsmacking given the Dominic Cummings scandal and his failure to act.

“This is an issue that transcends politics.

“There is growing public anger and a mounting rebellion of Tory MPs.

“I urged the Prime Minister to accept his responsibilities, dismiss Mr Cummings and then outline how he will repair the damage this has done.

“On the coming lockdown announcements, I emphasised the importance of consulting the devolved governments and making clear where changes are only for England.

“There cannot be a repeat of the confusion caused last time when there was no consultation and no clarity.”