Minister resigns

Carlaw joins call for Cummings to go as Ross quits

Douglas Ross

Resigned: Douglas Ross says adviser’s view does not chime with majority

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw finally yielded to pressure to demand the Prime Minister’s chief adviser leaves his post after junior minister Douglas Ross quit over the scandal.

Mr Ross, Under Secretary of State for Scotland, said Dominic Cummings’ view on lockdown guidance is ‘not shared by the vast majority’.

His decision prompted one SNP MP to say Mr Ross’s decision had become a test of Mr Carlaw’s leadership. The Tory leader initially refused to join calls for Mr Cummings to go, but later made it clear in an interview that Mr Cummings had become a distraction and should leave.

“It is absolutely a matter for the prime minister himself who serves him and for how long they serve – but given the furore, given the distraction we are now in, given the distraction to the prime minister onto this issue, if I were Mr Cummings I would be considering my position,” he told STV News.

His party office did not release a statement to this effect.

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Announcing his own resignation, Mr Ross, MP for Moray, said: “While the intentions may have been well meaning, the reaction to this news shows that Mr Cummings interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the government asked.

“I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government.

“I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”

Mr Cummings yesterday gave a statement explaining his decision to drive 250 miles to visit his parents in Durham and later make a 30-mile day trip to Barnard Castle.

He claimed he was testing his eyesight for the return journey to London. Despite concerns over his sight he was accompanied by his wife and four-year-old son.

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