The months of living through the pandemic and the lockdown have been difficult for us all. We have all made sacrifices. Some have suffered dreadful, irreversible losses. Others have endured these terrible events alone. Friends of mine have been, I fear, irrevocably scarred by what they’ve been forced to do in the common good, to protect others and the scarce resources of the NHS. In Newham, we’ve had far more than our share of tragedy and hardship, throughout this crisis.
The behaviour of Dominic Cummings, during this same period, is a betrayal.
Many have written to me about his excursions. I have heard from sick constituents living with very young children, trapped inside cramped flats with no outside space and anti-social neighbours. I have heard from distressed constituents, unable to visit their elderly relatives; and from older people, themselves, left isolated for months, alone and scared. Saddest of all, I have heard from constituents prevented from attending family funerals, unable to say goodbye, unable to console their loved ones and suffering grief alone.
None of these people broke the ‘Stay Home’ rule, despite facing circumstances far more desperate than those of Mr Cummings. They did the right thing. They feel betrayed by Cummings’ repeated breaches of the rules, his lack of contrition and Boris Johnson’s refusal to sack him.
Constituents tell me they have completely lost trust in the Government and that it’s intolerable there is one rule for them and another for us. Some tell me that they won’t comply with the rules any longer.
I am so very angry too. I think his actions have made people I love, people who live here, more vulnerable.
Only a small percentage of us is immune. Any vaccine is still many months away and I am desperately worried about the impact of a second wave of infections.
Even if you can’t trust or listen to this Government any longer, please continue to trust and listen to our NHS and scientific experts. Please do as they ask.
The Government haven’t acted responsibly, but we must. Please stay safe and protect lives.