Posted: Sat 30th May 2020

Clywd South MP says Cummings “badly misjudged” trip to Barnard Castle and should have “apologised for his behaviour” for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Clwyd South’s MP has broken his silence on the topic of Dominic Cummings, stating he “would have not made the same journey if I had been faced with this situation myself.”

Mr Cummings has been in the spotlight over a trip to Durham during the lockdown period, with some research suggesting MPs have been getting several hundred emails from angry constituents on the issue.

On Sunday evening after the first statement by Prime Minister Johnson on the topic we contacted both Wrexham’s Sarah Atherton MP and Clwyd South’s Simon Baynes MP asking for their views with many in touch expressing their outrage. We had no response until Wrexham’s MP released a statement on Wednesday.

In a unique press conference in the garden of Number 10 Downing Street, Mr Cummings gave his explanation of a trip to Barnard Castle, stating: “My wife was very worried, particularly given my eyesight seem to have been affected by the disease. She did not want to risk the nearly 300 mile Drive with our child given how ill I had been. We agreed we should go for a short drive to see if I could drive safely.”

Mr Baynes issued this statement this morning, copied in full below:

“Many thanks to everyone in Clwyd South who has taken the trouble to write to me about Dominic Cummings and I fully understand and sympathise with your deep concern on this matter. Please rest assured that I have communicated your views to No.10 Downing Street and the government loud and clear over the last few days.

I have been very moved by the emails and messages that I have received which describe the sacrifices people have made during the lockdown, particularly being unable to see much loved family and friends and, in some cases, the heart-breaking death of loved ones from Coronavirus.

I am currently answering these emails and messages and hope to have replied to everyone by the end of this weekend.

Like you, I have stayed at home during the crisis with my family and have worked remotely as your MP throughout this period. My team and I have had contact remotely with many hundreds of constituents during this time and they have often asked my advice about difficult decisions they were faced with during the crisis.

Dominic Cummings also had difficult decisions to make given the vulnerability of his four year-old son when his wife was suffering from Covid-19 and that his home in London was a target for protesters, some of whom threatened violence. He has spoken in detail and been questioned at length about the action he took in going to his parents’ farm to self-isolate in a separate building, his trip to Barnard Castle (which in my view was badly misjudged) and then his return to work afterwards.

Whilst I understand the course of action he took in exceptionally difficult circumstances and can accept that it was within the letter of the regulations, I think he showed poor judgement and I would have not made the same journey if I had been faced with this situation myself.

Furthermore, I feel strongly that he should have fully explained his reasons when the story first became public and apologised for his behaviour. I accept, however, the Prime Minister’s decision to keep Mr Cummings in his post but trust that the public reaction has emphasised the importance of accountability and integrity in these matters.

My priority now is to continue to provide the best representation possible for the people of Clwyd South both in the constituency and at Westminster, making sure that your views and concerns are strongly communicated to the Prime Minister and the government as we continue the task of fighting Coronavirus and easing lockdown restrictions.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on if I can help on any matter and thank you again for everything that you are doing to keep us and the NHS safe in Clwyd South.”

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