By: Sattwik Biswal
A Labour MP has blasted the “absolute disgrace” of ministers defending Dominic Cummings’ breach of lockdown rules last year, while other people missed funerals and last moments of loved ones.
This happened when Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi made a passionate intervention at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday (7). However, as reported by the Guardian, Boris Johnson has declined to apologise.
Dhesi demanded Johnson to apologise for not having sacked his then chief adviser, as the Slough MP mentioned about the funerals and other events he had missed because of Covid-19 guidelines.
Johnson did say that he was “deeply, deeply sorry” in response, but failed to express general regret at the suffering experienced by people during the pandemic.
“My grandmother, whom I loved dearly, was lying on her hospital deathbed and none of us were allowed to be there, to comfort her in her final moments. I couldn’t even carry her coffin on my shoulders,” he was quoted as saying.
“I also had to endure the agony of watching alone, online, the funeral of my uncle, my fun-loving uncle. And we were not there to comfort my brother-in-law’s father, who had somehow contracted Covid in a Slough care home, during his final moments. All this because we followed government guidance.”
During the peak of the lockdown in March last year, Cummings had travelled from London to Durham, and also had made a 52-mile round trip to the local beauty spot of Barnard Castle with his family on Easter Sunday.
Johnson and other ministers then had defended Cummings’ actions, and his eventual departure from No 10 in November last year was unconnected to the trip.
Dhesi said: “Having experienced such painful, personal sacrifices, like many others, imagine our collective disgust when in order to curry favour with the prime minister’s chief adviser, we see sycophantic, spineless, hypocritical government ministers lining up to defend the indefensible, saying, ‘It’s time to move on,’ with some even having the gall to tell us that they too go for a long drive when they need to get their eyesight tested.
“What an absolute disgrace, and they should all be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. So when is the prime minister finally going to apologise to the nation for not mustering up some courage and integrity, for not doing the honourable thing and sacking his chief adviser who so shamelessly flouted his own government guidance?
So many of us have had to endure the agony of heartbreakingly painful personal sacrifices during the pandemic, just to comply with Government guidance.
So it simply cannot be one rule for the Prime Minister and his elite chums, and another rule for the rest of us! pic.twitter.com/8Oz852yQmD
— Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (@TanDhesi) July 7, 2021
“He could have regained that lost public trust and confidence and he could have demonstrated that it’s not one rule for him and his elite chums, and another for the rest of us plebs.”
Johnson in response said that he and his government “sympathises with those who have gone through the suffering described by the gentleman opposite”, and added he will “take his criticisms most sincerely of the government”.
Johnson did apologise but not particularly for his actions last year to what Dhesi had questioned.
“I apologise for the suffering the people of this country have endured. All I can say is, nothing I can say or do can take back the lost lives, the lost time spent with loved ones that he describes. And I’m deeply, deeply sorry for that.”