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Sturgeon says Cummings should go, Carlaw offers no view

Jackson Carlaw

Jackson Carlaw: ‘a situation for the PM to judge’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Updated 25 May: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for Dominic Cummings to leave his post while Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw broke his silence on the affair engulfing Downing Street.

Commenting on the adviser’s alleged breach of the lockdown guidelines, Ms Sturgeon said in a radio interview on Monday morning: “I believe he should leave his position”.

On Sunday evening Mr Carlaw made his first comments but offered no opinion on the allegations surrounding the Prime Minister’s top aide.

In a statement “in relation to Dominic Cummings” he offered his backing to Boris Johnson for his “excellent work leading the country out of lockdown”.

Earlier Mr Johnson gave his full backing to Mr Cummings who has been widely castigated for travelling more than 250 miles from London to Durham shortly after the “stay home” guidelines were introduced.

The Prime Minister said he had spoken to Mr Cummings and “in every respect, he has acted responsibly, legally and with integrity.” Downing Street denied there had been a ‘second trip’ to Durham as alleged.

It was noted that Mr Carlaw had not issued a statement on Friday night when the story broke, or on Saturday amid calls for Mr Cummings to resign. He was also uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter.

Critics noted that when the SNP’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood was caught visiting her second home in Fife Mr Carlaw said: “There cannot be one rule for bosses and another for everyone else.”

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In his statement issued on Sunday night he attempted to switch attention to the SNP’s handling of coronavirus in care homes.

“I’ve heard what the Prime Minister has said and it is a situation for him to judge,” he said.

“He has reached a conclusion and we must all now focus on continuing to beat this dreadful pandemic.

“I want the Prime Minister to be able to continue his excellent work leading the country out of lockdown and I am glad he set out his plans clearly today.

“Here in Scotland, our focus must be on tackling the ongoing crisis in our care homes and building a robust testing and tracing system.

“There are more worrying reports today that this is proving difficult, and the Scottish Conservative focus will be on challenging the Scottish Government and demanding that promises both to protect care homes and isolate the disease are kept.”

Mr Carlaw’s position contrasted with the views of several Tory MPs who joined the SNP and Liberal Democrats in calling for Mr Cummings’ resignation.

By late Monday morning 17 Tory MPs had joined the call demanding Mr Cummings leaves his post. There were no reports of Scottish Tory MSPs doing likewise.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer did not call for Mr Cummings to be sacked but said Mr Johnson’s decision to take no action against Mr Cummings was “an insult to sacrifices made by the British people”.

Comment: Johnson has let himself become the target in the Cummings affair

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