9th Jul, 2020

Droitwich Councillor whose father-in-law died of Covid-19 writes to MP, calling for Cummings' resignation

Tristan Harris 27th May, 2020 Updated: 27th May, 2020

‘WE COULD have saved my father-in-law’s life if we’d have visited him’ – the words in a letter to MP Nigel Huddleston, calling for Dominic Cummings to be dismissed.

They were written by Coun Alan Humphries who lost his father-in-law John Slade to Coronavirus last month and is angry about the Prime Minister’s chief adviser not adhering to the lockdown restrictions.

John, who would have turned 84 today, was admitted to hospital on April 11 an died with Covid-19 on April 17.

Coun Humphries said: “He had been complaining of feeling unwell for a number of days and, had we been able to visit him during that period, we might have got him treatment sooner which may have prevented his death.

“We chose not to because Government guidelines were clear on not travelling unless the journey was essential.

“It now appears those guidelines were not clear and are open to individual interpretation.”

“The family were looking forward to celebrating the octogenarian’s birthday. This will not now happen.”

Coun Humphries’ sister-in-law also contracted Covid-19 and, he said, spent a horrendous two weeks in physical pain and emotional distress.

“Although now on the mend, she has nowhere near fully recovered from this.

“None of us could help her apart from her son who has Asperger’s Syndrome and was emotionally distraught following the death of his grandfather and the illness his Mother was experiencing.

“Again, we followed the now discredited Government guidelines on not visiting her.

“Another close relative of my wife contracted Covid-19 and had to self-isolate in her own home from her daughter and husband and then her husband contracted it and had to self-isolate too.

“Their parents live within a few miles of them but felt they could not help because of the now discredited Government guidelines.

“To now find that Dominic Cummings was allowed to do all of this because he is the chief adviser to the Prime Minister and was making a decision in ‘the best interests of his family’ and following the discredited guidelines is a slap in the face to everyone who has lost a relative or loved one and made sacrifices based on Government advice which you surely must agree is unacceptable.

“It is equally unacceptable for him to continue in post and to receive the full support of the Prime Minister who has clearly decided loyalty to one man is more important than loyalty to a nation that has sacrificed so much in the past three months.”

The letter from the Labour member for Droitwich Central added: “Nigel we do not share the same politics and you are aware of the political role I perform in Droitwich Spa, however, we are both human beings doing what we think is the best for our town so, again, I call on you to unequivocally condemn the actions of Dominic Cummings and the Government in supporting these actions and call for him to be dismissed from his role with immediate effect.”

Mr Huddleston said: ““I have received many emails from constituents relating to Mr Cummings and his recent actions, containing a wide range of views and opinions.

“On May 25, Mr Cummings set out his account of what happened and made it clear he believes he did not flout social distancing rules at any point and he explained that he was concerned that he and his wife would not be able to look after their young son if they were about to be badly affected by Coronavirus – and therefore they drove to Durham to be near his family.

“At a Downing Street press conference on March 24, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries, said parents who are ill and may not be able to look after a child created ‘exceptional circumstances’ where family members could be called upon to help.

“Clearly Mr Cummings believes that his circumstances were exceptional and does not believe he broke the Government’s guidelines.

“While I and others may accept this interpretation, I recognise others may not.

“Some constituents have said that while they appreciate there is an element of personal judgement involved, they expect a higher bar for members of the Government.

“Many individuals and families have made huge personal sacrifices during the lockdown and I can understand the anger and frustration of people who believe others may not have also made such sacrifices.

“We must focus our efforts on the many challenges we still face.

“We must continue to fight the virus, prepare for the easing of measures at a safe pace, and restart the economy to provide families with economic security – and that is what I shall be working on.”

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