Ministers' tweets defending Dominic Cummings 'humiliating and degrading', says senior Tory

Dominic Cummings defended his position on Monday. (Getty)

A senior Tory MP has said it is “humiliating and degrading” that ministers had to post agreed tweets defending Dominic Cummings over his alleged breach of the coronavirus lockdown rules.

William Wragg, the MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, said the government risked losing public support over its response to the incident.

It comes after Cummings hosted a press conference on Sunday in which he argued that his journey to Durham in March was justified as he sought to protect his family's health.

Cummings said he and his wife, journalist Mary Wakefield, drove to Durham to stay in a cottage on his father's farm because of concerns about childcare for their four-year-old son if they were incapacitated by coronavirus and also over fears about the safety of their London home.

William Wragg is the MP for Hazel Grove. (Getty)

He declined to apologise and said he did not regret his actions when he outlined how he drove from his home in London to County Durham during the lockdown.

The prime minister and members of his cabinet staunchly defended the adviser over the weekend, posting tweets denying he had broken the law with his actions.

But Wragg, who is the chairman of the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee, said on Tuesday: “We cannot throw away valuable public and political good will any longer.

“It’s humiliating and degrading to their office to see ministers put out agreed lines in defence of an adviser.

“This is a time of national emergency and our focus must be unrelenting. We owe it to the nation.”

It comes as Douglas Ross, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, became the first minister to resign over the incident on Tuesday.

Ross, the MP for Moray, said that "while the intentions may have been well-meaning", the PM’s senior aide’s interpretation of the rules was "not shared by the vast majority of people".

"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," he wrote.

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

A No 10 spokesman said Johnson "regrets" Ross's decision to quit.

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