Day Four, folks, of the analysis of these wretched letters from these wretched (in the main) Tory MPs. Thank you to all who have been sending them, but please keep tabs on the ones mentioned in previous blogs, so I don’t have to delete too many emails. There was a major rush of Dan Poulter’s letter last night, and James Cartlidge is creating a lot of ire with his cut and paste dismissal.
I can’t say I have counted them all, but I would say the MP whose letter has been sent to me more than any others is Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrissey who, like Boris Johnson was born in America and who, like Boris Johnson, might have served us better had the stayed there. To think that Dominic Grieve is an ex-MP, and she her replacement, is a reflection of something gone pretty wrong in our politics.
Here is her stock letter.
‘Over the last week a number of constituents have contacted me about reports concerning Dominic Cummings. In the light of their own sacrifices and hardships, a lot of people have been asking serious, understandable and justified questions about Mr Cummings’ trip to Durham.
However, (cue ‘creep of the week’ award en route) since these reports were first published, Mr Cummings has given a full and frank account of what happened, (well, long, yes; full and frank, certainly not; riddled with gaps and inconsistencies and nonsense, for sure) including answering numerous questions from the press. (I love how this ‘he took questions from the press’ somehow clears him of anything. Most of the press, rightly, thought he made a total tit of himself, and of his ‘boss,’ Boris Johnson. I took literally hundreds of thousands of questions as Tony Blair’s spokesman, but it didn’t stop the press saying I was an evil, manipulative Svengali type figure, though I think they had enough respect to know I wouldn’t break rules I helped to devise.)
‘In addition,’ Morrissey goes on, ‘Durham Constabulary have (has) confirmed that having reviewed all the evidence, they (it) will not be taking any further action.’
(Now get ready for some good sturdy Trumpism) ‘Much of the media reporting of this story (well, bits of it, not “much,” and I can’t be arsed to say which bits, and OK, the central allegation was indisputably true) proved to be factually inaccurate, with even the BBC having to apologise for the coverage by Newsnight, (which was about tone, not fact, and all the facts in Emily Maitlis’ monologue were accepted as true) their flagship news analysis programme (which the spineless tossers who make up the Cabinet are boycotting because they sometimes ask hard questions about why we fucked everything up.) With facts in short supply (unless you count 60,000 plus deaths as one fact or 60,000) and opposition groups seeking to make as much political capital (because we never did that in Opposition) out of the uncertainty (odd word) as possible, it is no surprise that this story has gained so much attention. (Normally, stories get attention because of facts, and despite the Opposition, but hey, she’s new, and American.)
‘Nevertheless, I share the Prime Minister’s view (it says here) that the time has come to move on (bingo!) and focus all our efforts on the job at hand. (which is going so well.) That means continuing to ensure that the lockdown is lifted in a careful, considered and safe manner, (wrong government here, Joy) so that we can get our economy moving again and reunite with our loved ones. (sweet.)
I am too kind to print the words of her constituents that accompanied the many submissions of her letter.
But, ever fair, I now want to present, as I have each day, the evidence that some Tory MPs have a spine, their own view, and the ability to express it.
David Warburton, MP for Somerset and Frome, starts with a cheery: ‘I do hope this finds you safe and well,’ then goes into a rather sad personal story. ‘My own father died alone because I – and the rest of my family – followed government advice on non-essential travel. There’s nothing exceptional in that. Having been helping thousands of constituents over the last 6 weeks, I know that very few people have remained untouched by this – from those with severe mental health problems (one of the tiny number even to acknowledge this) and difficulties in seeing their children, to those who, like me, have been unable to say goodbye to loved ones.’
He goes on, rather eloquently I might add: ‘I don’t doubt that Dominic Cummings felt that he was doing the best for his family – something that we can all understand. I don’t think he took the trip to Durham blithely or light-heartedly. But I do feel that the symbolism inherent in a Downing Street adviser choosing to interpret rather than follow the regulations he helped to fashion is damaging. It risks compromising the lockdown at a point where we are seeing very real progress and has upset many who feel they weren’t given equivalent leeway when facing personal distress of their own. It’s for this reason that I now feel the Government would best be served by Dominic Cummings’ removal. I have no personal animus against him – indeed, we’ve never met – (has Cummings ever met any MPs apart from Johnson?), but, as I said on the BBC yesterday, I believe his presence now damages the Government and country he is trying to serve.
‘Having received death threats myself in the past, I am made extremely uncomfortable by the harassment he and his family have faced from the hordes of photographers outside their home. I also find some of the very personal vituperation and hatred he faces extremely distasteful – outright hatred has absolutely no place in anything even approaching rational political discourse. But the best way to defuse that is for the public to see that he has been held accountable – and that’s something I’ll continue to argue for in the coming days.’ (Well done, sir, though in my experience the best way to deal with death threats is to tell the police, not the public.)
Paul Bristow, MP for Peterborough, also has a very personal story, but reaches a different conclusion: ‘The most toxic thing in politics is someone behaving as though “it’s one rule for me and another rule for you.” I don’t think Mr Cummings intended that, or actually felt that way, (clearly another one who has never met him) but it is the impression people have got. (Am I alone in finding the word ‘got’ at the end of a sentence deeply unpleasing?)
His next paragraph, as per dozens of others, focuses on details the media got wrong, and the ‘worryingly false statement by Durham Police. Mr Bristow watched the Cummings press event and ‘I saw a father and a husband trying to do what he thought was best for his family, in difficult circumstances.’ Then the ‘he answered lots of questions’ point, one of the most used cut and paste points. ‘Many will still disagree – that is fair.’ (Fairness! So important to these Tories, eh?) Then into a total buying of the Cummings bullshit on security, which I have dealt with before.
But then, a real turn, and something which leapt out at me. ‘Like so many others, my family has faced tragedy during the lockdown. My father died at home from a brain tumour and my wife’s grandmother died from coronavirus. We had to suppress every instinct and follow the lockdown guidance, which intensified our grief … Strictly speaking, I didn’t follow the guidance, when I went to be with my father in the final hours of his life. I have been open about this, without being prompted by questions or media enquiries.’ (Respect. But my God he is more forgiving of Cummings than I would be in his circumstances.)
The letter from Karen Bradley, MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, is short and to the point: She waited to hear Cummings’ side of the story before rushing to judgement. Having listened to his garden bullshit, she is unpersuaded. He is damaging the government and the fight against Covid, he has to go. (Well done Madame, all on one side of paper, no waffle.)
Esther McVey, MP for Tatton, doesn’t take too long either. [Lots of emails/sacrifice/Cummings has explained]
‘ I fully appreciate why you and others take a different view, and feel so strongly about his actions, and I have conveyed that strength of feeling directly to the Prime Minister and other members of the Government.
Whilst the future of Dominic Cummings is a matter for him and the Prime Minister – had I been in the same situation, I would have resigned my position.’
Julian Lewis, MP for New Forest East, is an odd chap in many ways, not least the fact that you can’t email him and he doesn’t do social media. The New Forest East constituent who contacted me tried to call Lewis’ office, got nowhere so wrote by post and today got a reply. He suggests waiting for the outcome of any investigation which, as there isn’t going to be one, is kind of out of date already.
David Morris MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, has a neat little delay tactic: ‘Please can you reply to this message enclosing your full postal address , if you would like a response to your email. There is a strictly adhered to Parliamentary protocol which dictates that Members of Parliament may only correspond on behalf of and with their own Constituents. In order to ensure that this is the case I need to have been sent your full postal address before you will receive a response.’ (Ah, Parliamentary protocols, how we love to obey those; like lying to the Queen about prorogation, and having mile long queues and votes that last 45 minutes because a Victorian cartoon is Leader of the Commons.)
Another one with a good cop-out is Siobhan Baillie, MP for Stroud: ‘For the first 5 weeks of her maternity leave,’ says an automated message, ‘she is not responding to emails nor using her social media so she can bond with her new born child.’ (Nice, I’m sure, bond away. But child or not, you have constituents, so what are they supposed to do? Answer comes there none. There is a link to the House of Commons staff handbook – I worked there for years but this is news to me, and she posts an explanation of maternity rights. This suggests to me she thinks Parliament is there to operate for her, rather than that she is there to work for her constituents. If any of her friends are reading, perhaps advise her to get a system in place.’)
UPDATE HERE, a few hours after first posting … (Cummings style, but mine is factual.) I have finally had an MP come to another MP’s defence. The only Tory MP messages I have had have either been to say how unfair I have been or, in several cases, how much they enjoyed seeing how idiotic their colleagues had been. One MP said she had sent a draft cut and paste answer to colleagues with the note ‘turn this into your own words,’ but then was amazed to see then put it out word for word in their own name.
Anyway the MP coming to the defence of Siobhan Baillie is not a Tory but Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, who says the issue here is the Commons’ antediluvian approach to maternity, and the lack of clear support for an MP who has a child. Point taken, thanks Stella, and good luck Siobhan.)
I had a pop at Greg Knight, MP for East Yorkshire earlier on, because he suggested he didn’t reply to emails because it put people who didn’t have the internet at a disadvantage. Now I have one of his letters, though it doesn’t say much more. “The issue of whether or not the lockdown law was broken is not one for the Prime Minister to determine, nor for me, or the press but is a matter for the police. Indeed, I understand that Durham Police have now concluded their investigation” He repeatedly emphasizes that if the police see no crime then there is no issue, (though the police clearly state that Cummings was in breach.)
I had cause to upbraid Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, yesterday for a ludicrous tweet he posted about a package about Britain on German TV. As part of my current attempts to rediscover my lost German with a Goethe Institut course, I am watching German TV myself, and the report he criticised was a measured analysis of just how badly Covid has had Britain, with a reminder that Brexit was still to come, and a lot of businesses were worried. Hands, who speaks good German, called it a rant, and said if the BBC carried reports like that, there would be an outcry. Only from people who think the news should be read by a Minister for Propaganda. Stop embarrassing yourself, Mr Hands. Oh, and if you thought Annette Dittert’s package on ARD was harsh, you had better avoid the piece I have done for Der Spiegel, on the national catastrophe made in Number 10 by liars and charlatans. Out tomorrow I think. I will send you a copy.
As for Mr Hands’ letter, pretty cut and paste, but then he is a minister in a department, don’t laugh, headed by Liz Truss. ‘As the Prime Minister has acknowledged, people may disagree with his actions. I can understand the difference of views. It is now time for the country to move on and focus on tackling the coronavirus pandemic together – and in doing so, we all must stay alert, to control the virus and save lives.’ Good to end with the slogan. Bleiben wachsam. Kontrollieren den Virus. Retten Leben.’
Another minister, ex of the Cabinet now one rung down, is James Brokenshire, MP for Ted Heath’s old seat, Old Bexley and Sidcup. He makes clear it is a stock letter.
‘People will reach their own views on Mr Cummings’ actions and I respect your opinion that they breached the guidelines. (I agree with you but I am a minister so can’t say so). I have underlined the strength of feeling on this issue at senior levels of Government (and have said he is an idiot.) During a recent media interview when I was asked about the resignation of the Government’s then scientific adviser Professor Neil Ferguson over an alleged breach of the lockdown restrictions, I said that there could not be one rule for one and one rule for everyone else. This remains my position and no-one is above the law.(So Cummings should go too.)
[Blah re up to the cops now, move on]
To constituents not happy, who went back for more, he replied: ‘The Prime Minister (an idiot, agreed) has formed the view that the matter is now closed. Ultimately, decisions on whom he believes should advise him are properly for him. I am sorry for the upset this whole situation has caused at this incredibly difficult and sensitive time – especially when the challenges surrounding the control of the virus as well as the urgent need to rejuvenate our economy to protect jobs and livelihoods firmly remain.(But if Johnson wants to keep fucking it up, there is not much I can do to stop him.)
Dr Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and who must be really hopeless to be behind Priti Patel in the Number 10 briefing pecking order, managed to address someone by the wrong name and then say: ‘I am not going to ask you to put yourself in another person’s shoes as we, or people we know, have gone through very similar experiences.’ (I mean, we all know someone who had to drive 260 miles to Daddy’s estate … wait a minute, no we don’t, his circumstances were unique, supposedly.)
Then, after a bit of cut and paste, she says: ‘I appreciate that this is not the answer that you may have been seeking. (Correct) I recognise that some people will continue to be angry. (Indeed) Nevertheless, I think we do now need to keep focused on what we must all continue to do in order to beat this virus.’ (Like by being part of a Cabinet that is easing the lockdown even though the death rate, because we have screwed up so royally, is the same as when we went into it.)
‘Having been through so much together, (apart from Durham Dom) we have overcome the peak and we need to have a new normal which will be helped if we all continue to do our bit to stop the transmission of the virus to each other. Gradual easement (I think easing is the English word, you are probably thinking of app-easemsent, as in the Isle of Wight app project that seems to have failed, like everything else you lot have done) of the lockdown regime will only work if we do this and actually protect each other – washing hands (so we have to wash each other’s hands now?) and social distancing. (How can we maintain social distancing if we are washing other people’s hands? I am confused. Or is this just yet more bad English from these leading lights in the English Nationalist Party?”)
Another Cabinet minister, Chief Secretary Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, doesn’t bother to reply himself, but signs off ‘Sent on behalf of Mr Stephen Barclay MP by Katy Lipscomb, Assistant to Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP.’
Katy writes: [Cut and paste, really not worth bothering you with.]
A minister who gets close to saying Cummings should go, and Johnson is useless, is Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry and Minister of State for Transport: “Overall I think that when Mr Cummings explained his actions at his Press Conference last week people also would have appreciated an apology for any upset caused. Thus let me apologise to you.’
Then a lovely dig. ‘Few can disagree that the Prime Minister has done his best to lead the country through this crisis’ (Leaves thought hanging … My God, is this his best? Have we elected a total dork?)
I mentioned there had been an overnight deluge of the letter sent by Dan PoulterMP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, so his stock letter must have landed on doormats yesterday. He is a doctor, as you will see.
‘Please accept my apologies for the brief delay in responding as I have now returned following a short period of leave and rest after what has been a very busy three months volunteering extra hours to the NHS in my capacity as a doctor and also helping many people in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich with problems and queries relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.’ (Hold on – rest and leave? There is a crisis on, you know.)
[Cut and paste Durham cops, mentions the word ‘Constabulary’ about a dozen times, mentions the eye-test test drive, but makes no medical analysis of this, which perhaps means that, like Michael Gove, he thinks driving to check your eyesight is fine.]
I hope this reply is helpful (not really, no) and wish you well in these challenging times.’
Then get this for a love of letters before and after your name..
Dr Daniel Poulter MP Llb (hons), MBBS, AKC, MRCPsych
(Maybe he is crawling in the hope he gets to the Cabinet, and he can put Rt Hon before Dr, or perhaps an OBE after MP? He needs to get rid of that Lib though. Doesn’t that stand for Liberal?)
Caroline Ansel, MP for Eastbourne: ‘Media coverage of Mr Cummings’ travel in March has sparked fury (auditioning for a Sun column) and frustration and I understand that; lockdown has been at a very great cost to very many of us.’ (very poor use of semi-colon after ‘understand that.’)
As for her sign-off: ‘Thank you for all you have done personally these last weeks and months and with every good wish to you and your families and friends,
(Where to begin? ‘All you have done personally? – as opposed to what, impersonating someone else? Also, without a comma after ‘months’, it reads as though the constituent has been doing things personally with every good wish. I am fascinated by the plural ‘your families’! Someone has more than one? Maybe she knows them personally? Then she ends the letter with a comma, and signs off without a full stop, let alone a ‘Best Wishes.’)
Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford: I covered his call for an inquiry into Cummings yesterday, but now I have the whole letter, and I am intrigued by this paragraph.
‘Whatever the rights or wrongs of Mr Cummings’ actions, as we have now been in Lockdown (capital L not needed unless you are Dominic Cummings’ wife lying in The Spectator about “Lockdown London”) for slightly over two months, I can well understand why they have led to a considerable amount of public anger. For instance, for someone who might have been living in a flat without a garden with two very lively children for two months, obeying the guidelines, I can immediately see why they might feel pretty aggrieved, by what they have seen reported in the national media.’ (The grammatical mangling of ‘we’, ‘I’ and ‘they’ leaves open the possibility that Mr Francois is living in a gardenless flat with two lively children. I doubt that.)
Yesterday I did a detailed analysis of the letter sent out by Watford MP Dean Russell. Today the wife of the man who sent it to me also got one. Identical, save that Mr had become Mrs.
Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot, at first sounded like she was going full Walter Cronkite/Emily Maitlis, mother of the nation. ‘We have all been living very different lives; (different from each other, or from the past? Oh, and by the way, what the hell is that semi-colon for? A comma would suffice) in some cases alone, and in some cases with family members suffering from COVID 19. Everybody has done their bit (er, no, or else you would not be getting hundreds of letters about Durham Dom) to support the Government’s call to limit their freedoms to help reduce the infection rate. Many have suffered family loss, bereavement and the support network that is their family. It has been a tough time.
The Government trusted the British people to do the right thing – and they did. Powers of enforcement were limited, and police forces endeavoured to persuade rather than fine. However, in the efforts to get the message across that people should stay at home to help reduce the spread of the virus, I believe a better job could have been done in communicating where there was flexibility in the lockdown guidance.’
(Ok, Anne Marie, let’s get to the point, eh?)
‘I have had letters which condemn him and letters that support what he did.’
(Get to the point, I said.)
‘For me two things matter.’
(Jesus, not more throat-clearing and scene-setting.)
‘First, did he do his best to comply with the guidance and was his decision to travel to Durham reasonable? I believe it was. (Mmmm, I note you don’t answer re compliance with guidance.) Second, did his action put anyone else at risk? I don’t believe it did as no social distancing rules were broken. (You only have Dom’s word for that, AM, and let’s be honest eh, I know you have never met him, but you do know he is a liar, don’t you? Anyway it is bloody obvious where this is going, so get on with it …)
‘Dominic Cumming’s employment (sorry to swear but what the fuck is it with these Tories and apostrophes?) is a matter for the Prime Minister, who has made it clear his position on the matter. (And what does the ‘it’ in that sentence achieve? ‘It’ is the ‘position’, so you don’t need both.) This is clearly not going to change, and therefore it’s time to get on with reducing the risk to society of Covid-19 and the much-needed reopening of our economy. (Aka Johnson can’t tie his laces with Domboy, and we need to focus on killing more Covid patients and screwing up the economy more.)
David Simmonds, MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner: Definite cut and paste, as I am getting really tired of reading this paragraph: ‘I have been in daily contact with local organisations from the police, NHS, and schools, to volunteers and charities who have been part of this national effort. The sacrifices made are hopefully paying off as we see numbers of new cases and deaths reducing, but there is no room for complacency.’
He follows with further explanations for why we should wait to pass judgement etc and ends: ‘We must be able to return our focus to the progress which continues to be made, as a result of the sacrifices we have all endured.’ (Progress? Like towards the top of the global death league table?)
|Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford & South Herefordshire:|
‘It has never been my practice to pass judgement on others in politics, whatever their party or views, and I do not propose to start now.”(So if someone committed mass murder? If you’re not there to pass judgement on ideas and the people who argue for them, it kind of makes you wonder why he went into politics.)
Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South: ‘On the basis of what I know, and unless subsequent facts emerge, I don’t condemn him and call for his head.’ (Grammatically a bit all over the place, and the double space after ‘I don’t’ and before ‘condemn’ suggests a bit of fiddling with the cut and paste from the whips. It can also be read, Ian, as saying you are calling for his head. In case Dom is reading all these, you might want to change the last bit to “I don’t condemn him and so I am not calling for his head.” Or maybe you are? After all, King Henry the Eighth did it when his courtier, his Cummings, Thomas Cromwell, overshadowed him, didn’t he? Those were the days.)
Michelle Donellan, MP for Chippenham: Cut and paste, move on. But at least she dives into the Matt Hancock book of clichés (RAMP UP, Published by Bullshit Books 2020) for her pay off: ‘My job is to represent the community through thick and thin and I will continue to work night and day to make lives better and safer in Wiltshure.’ (Sweet)
Chris Green, MP for Bolton West & Atherton: ‘A number of MPs have breached the rules to visit relatives, attend funerals or travel long distances with Covid-19 symptoms. (Have they? Who?). They have been exposed in the media and, where necessary, advised by the police on their behaviour as this has been thought to be the right approach.’
Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon, makes the claim that the rules concerning children, on which Cummings made his bogus claim of exceptional circumstances, have been ‘largely ignored in the press coverage.’ (Only in so far as there has been scant coverage of what they were intended for – to protect children at risk of abuse, and women in particular at risk of domestic violence, so you can get stuffed with that one.)
Then get this: ‘It may be argued of course that the guidance itself is deficient but that is another matter. It is also the case that some of the reporting, especially around the time the story first broke was substantially inaccurate and appears to have had little to do with objective journalism. That said, I believe that Mr Cummings’ journey to Barnard Castle and back – to test his fitness to drive later – feels more problematic which is why I wanted to see the independent Durham Police statement (and now that it says what we want, move on …)
‘I do not know Mr Cummings (course not, he is a hologram) and I have never met him (who has?) but on balance and particularly given the view of the police, I do not believe that he should be forced to resign especially when taking into account the very difficult position he found himself in, including the sickness within his family, (which nobody else has had) the potential health threat to his 4 year old child (which no other parents had to worry about) and the press presence at his home in London (which didn’t exist at the time he left, otherwise people would have seen him leaving, Numpty.)
My hope now is that we can move on (bingo!) and re-focus our efforts on combating this dreadful virus and working towards the economic recovery that our country so badly needs. [pure cut and paste]
Aaron Bell, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme: Fair bit of cut and paste but a nice opener, on how hard lockdown has been. ‘Birthdays have had to be celebrated on Zoom, grandparents have not hugged grandchildren, and many people have not been able to attend the funerals of their family and friends. (Small grammatical point – this says whole families have died and been laid to rest together.)
[Then into the ‘as a father’ cut and paste, Durham blah, police blah, and finally…]
‘His employment as a special adviser, and for how long, is a matter for the Prime Minister, and is not something over which I am able to direct any influence.’ (I am powerless, admits MP.)
Amanda Solloway, MP for Derby North, claims she has read all the emails (almost certainly not true) yet they all get the same response.
‘I feel strongly that this is a new experience for all of us and that each and everyone’s circumstances (each and everyone’s!!!!) will be different, and for those exceptional circumstances, there are allowances within the guidelines, providing that there is a medical or clinical need.
Though I appreciate and empathise with the sincere anger and upset caused, I strongly oppose the behaviour of some who have sought to harass Mr Cummings and his family outside of their family home.
That is why it is now important to move forward (forward, not on) as a country and focus our efforts on overcoming this crisis. I will be continuing to ensure that Derby North has a strong recovery from COVID-19 and that my constituents are supported throughout these unprecedented (bingo!) times.
Stay Safe. (I hate that one, it’s like have a nice day, but shorter)
Angela Richardson, MP for Guildford, posts a link to her website, where you find a short ‘Dear Constituent’ letter, with this memorable passage. ‘When it comes to Dominic Cummings, I believe that the Prime Minister is the only one (why so?) in a position to decide on the matter, as all advisers serve at his pleasure. (Pleasure! His Majesty’s Pleasure! Does she think Johnson is now The Queen?) ‘The Prime Minister has made it clear that he has continued confidence in Dominic Cummings? I have been, and remain, steadfast and undeterred in my support for the Prime Minister’s stance.’ (I am a 24-carat creep, the perfect lobby-fodder for our useless leader.)
Laura Trott, MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley: Total cut and paste.
Chris Clarkson, MP for Heywood & Middleton, tries to get a Bingo point for ‘unprecedented,’ but sadly can’t spell it. ‘It is vital during these unprecedent times that everybody abides by the rules of lockdown.’
He actually starts his second paragraph like this! Wit a glaring spelling error, going on to give the stock response to placate and appease, rather than admonish or rebuke in any way.
Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington, has a nice personalised feel to his replies, eg: ‘Thank you for your two emails I read both of them, and your tweet, with interest.” Then goes into cut and paste errors galore
This has clearly been personalised to the sender and is subsequently suffering from an array of errors.
Craig Tracey, MP for North Warwickshire, has an interesting, albeit grammatically offensive approach : ‘I have endeavoured to ‘take the politics out of the matter’ and consider my response as if I was his MP, advising Mr Cummings if, as a constituent, presented me with those same circumstances as we currently understand them to be..’ Followed by cut and paste apologism, not apology.
Still on the apology theme, Eleanor Laing, MP for Epping Forest: ‘It would have been better if Mr Cummings had stuck more rigidly to those rules and set an example for the rest of the country. Whether Mr Cummings was right or wrong, I had hoped that he would apologise for the consternation that his course of action has caused. I am disappointed that he has not done so.’
Victoria Prentice, MP for North Oxfordshire (very badly written, largely cut and paste, with a few mini-digs.) ‘This is a personal appointment by the Prime Minister and he is the only person who can have a say over this.”
Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds: Cut and paste/lots of appreciating the anger, doing nothing about it.
Sheryll Murray, MP for South East Cornwall: I posted her short response to some constituents yesterday, but a longer one has emerged, like dozens of others insisting: ‘I do not know Mr Cummings and have never spoken to him personally.’
Felicity Buchan, MP for Kensington: ‘One of the briefest responses and, though seemingly empathising, it lacks any sort of sympathy at all, ending: However, it is important that this issue does not become all-consuming as there are many important decisions that need to be made in the upcoming days and weeks, as we look to reopen schools and in general look to restart the economy.”
Craig Tracey, MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth: [Sacrifice/anger/I’ve behaved well/cut and paste/move on]
Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw: ‘I speak as a husband and a father who…’
Zzzzzz. Cut and Paste. Over and out.
If you can take any more (not sure I can)
Here is Part 1 of the letter avalanche
Here is Part 2
Here is Part 3
And here is the Matt Hancock empathy bypass horror show