BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis needs just 20 seconds to say why what Dominic Cummings did was wrong

Louis Staples
Wednesday 27 May 2020 05:30
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It’s rule in British politics that when Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis is doing a monologue about something, it’s a very big deal because it means someone has supremely messed up.

Maitlis, who you might remember recently delivered a powerful monologue about coronavirus not being a “great leveller” and also interviewed prince Andrew, has turned her attention to the huge drama surrounding government adviser Dominic Cummings.

Maitlis is being praised for her introduction to the latest programme, after she used her opening lines to capture the mood of the nation over Cummings’ trip to Durham during lockdown.

She said:

Dominic Cummings broke the rules, the country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.

The longer ministers and the prime minister tell us he worked with them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.

He was the man, remember, who always got the public mood, he tagged the lazy label of ‘elite’ on those who disagreed.

He should understand that public mood. One of fury, contempt, and anguish.

He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to feel like they can flout them.

The prime minister knows all this, and despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.

Maitlis then said that no government minister would be joining her to discuss the situation.

On social media, people were (to put it mildly) full of praise of Maitlis for her remarks.

If one thing's for sure, it's that no one wants to have messed up so badly that Emily Maitlis is doing a monologue on them. And certainly not an interview, though it looks like Cummings will be spared that experience.

Meanwhile, the controversy rumbles on, with over 40 Tory MPs calling for the adviser to be sacked.

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