The fallout from Dominic Cummings’ lockdown trip to Durham shows no signs of stopping. After Downing Street pushed back on criticism of Cummings’ trip and senior Tories rallied around him, allegations of a second trip to Durham during lockdown emerged.
Downing Street called these reports, which surfaced in The Mirror, “false allegations” and “inaccurate”. But there are serious questions that remain unanswered.
Who knew about this trip (or trips, as is being alleged) to Durham? Did Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock know? If so, when? And why didn’t they tell us?
As the list of questions grow and the calls for Cummings’ resignation grow louder, there have been a few people who’ve tried to defend him. There’s even been an insinuation that the backlash against Cummings, who was instrumental in the successful Vote Leave Brexit campaign, is becoming the victim of some sort of “Remainer plot” to oust him.
But that’s going to be even harder to suggest after Steve Baker MP has publicly called for Cummings to go.
Baker, known as the “Brexit hardman” is one of the strongest supporters of Brexit in parliament. He even served as the chairman of the European Research Group, an intensely Eurosceptic group of Tory MPs.
So to suggest there's any Brexit-based political motivation behind Baker's response to this situation doesn't seem to be a winning argument. Though it's worth pointing out that Baker did say that he didn’t think Cummings should ever have been in Downing Street in the first place.
It is intolerable that Boris’ government is losing so much political capital. Three changes are immediately require… https://t.co/cHEobHnRPq
— Steve Baker MP FRSA (@Steve Baker MP FRSA)
This morning, Baker said that it was “intolerable” that Johnson’s government is “losing so much political capital” and that “Cummings must go”.
There are very few things more likely to get Cummings to grip more firmly on his perch than Steve Baker telling him to let go
If Steve Baker can say this publicly - a vociferously loyal Boris fanboy - it leaves very little hiding room for ot… https://t.co/IQLVv8IXIq
— Stewart McDonald MP (@Stewart McDonald MP)
Baker's intervention comes after a YouGov poll found that 52 per cent of people think Cummings should resign, including 40 per cent of Tories. Labour and the SNP are also calling for an urgent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 265-mile trip.
Yesterday, before reports alleged that there had been further trips to Durham, Cummings insisted he had no plans to resign.