In the last few days I have received a number of emails about Dominic Cummings. I regret that I am no longer able to give a personalised reply to everyone which I trust people will understand. There are many who are waiting for a reply to queries they have raised other issues which need answering.
At the weekend I wrote:
Thank you for your email. I understand and share your concerns. The advice to stay at home has been important in dealing with the pandemic and it has been difficult for many people, including me.
Dominic Cummings is a public figure and as such his actions deserve scrutiny. I said over the weekend that I would seek more information and I have now done so. However Dominic Cummings has been a figure of hate for some time amongst some and we need try to separate the politics from the personal in this situation. In the interests of due fairness, I believe that the only way this can be done is for an independent investigation, rather than simply dismissing him, and I have supported the calls for the Cabinet Secretary to do this quickly.
On Monday Dominic Cummings made a statement setting out his side of the story and answered media questions. I thought the statement showed that he takes seriously the need for scrutiny and that he approached it with a great deal of humility. However, the political antagonism towards him has become clearer too even though he shared personal details such as not being able to attend the funeral of the member of his family who died during this period.
Following that Statement I continued to support calls for the Cabinet Secretary to conduct an independent investigation. I still think that that is the best option regardless of what the Prime Minister said at the Liaison Committee in the House of Commons. I shall therefore continue to call for such an enquiry. This does not need to be a long process and would be more in the interests of justice than simply dismissing him. The purpose of such an enquiry is not to establish the facts of what happened but to establish the nature of the actions.
I have every sympathy for the many and varied problems that we have all faced in this lockdown. All Government guidelines require us to use common sense and do what is right in our own circumstances; it is impossible to set out guidance for every possible situation. This does not suggest a free for all and I do not accept that this affair has ended the need for compliance with the rules of lockdown. There is nothing I would rather see than the end of this virus and I will continue to follow lockdown guidelines to achieve this.
Some people have asked me to make a statement on whether or not I think Dominic Cummings should resign. I did not do so in the case of Professor Neil Ferguson or of Dr Catherine Calderwood and I am not going to do so now simply because it is Dominic Cummings involved. I have called for those who can investigate fully and independently to do so. I will not add to the public hounding led by the media.