'Time to move on' say Black Country Tory MPs as minister resigns over Cummings row
Conservative MPs have called for the country to refocus on "fighting coronavirus together" as their party sought to move on from the Dominic Cummings crisis.
The PM's senior aide remains under pressure over claims that he breached lockdown rules by driving 260 miles with his wife and young son to his parents home in Durham, and also taking a 60-mile round trip to a beauty spot to check if his eyesight was ok.
Mr Cummings responded to the allegations during a Downing Street press conference yesterday, saying he had behaved "reasonably" and in the best interests of his family.
He also revealed that his London home had become "a target" and said he had no regrets over his actions.
This morning Douglas Ross, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, became the first minister to quit over the issue saying he was resigning after hearing Mr Cummings’ efforts to defend his trip from London to Durham.
However the region's Tory MPs have today backed Boris Johnson's top man, insisting it was clear he had done nothing wrong and that the PM was right not to sack him.
South Staffordshire MP and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, said: "Dominic Cummings has set out clearly what happened. I hope we can all now focus on the country's efforts to rebuild and recover from Covid-19."
Dudley North MP Marco Longhi said: "Dominic Cummings gave a detailed account of events in a frank and honest way.
"In his circumstances he used common sense to minimise risks, as a father of a sick child and husband of a sick wife, but within the rules.
"Let's now refocus on fighting the disease and rebuilding our economy together for all."
He also called on the media to "pause and reflect" on Mr Cummings' comments that his home had become a target.
Nicola Richards, the MP for West Bromwich East, described the episode as "unfortunate" and said: "I believe if a constituent in a similar position worried about who would take care of their child sought advice from my office, I would have advised as per the guidance that they must do what they believe is necessary in exceptional circumstances."
She added: "We must get back to the job in hand and move on."
Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling, the Conservative chair, said: "Dominic Cummings provided a very personal, honest and thorough explanation of events. He followed the guidelines while ensuring appropriate care was given to his young child.
"It is time for us to move on and concentrate on all the work being done to beat the coronavirus."
Shaun Bailey, the MP for West Bromwich West, said he had received emails from constituents expressing "concern and anger" over Mr Cummings' actions.
He added: "Having listened to his press conference in full, I am satisfied that Dominic Cummings adhered to the guidance issued at the time of his actions, and unless further information comes to light, I do not believe that Mr Cummings should resign."
More than 20 Conservative MPs have broken party ranks to condemn Mr Cummings, with some calling for him to resign.