Like many of our constituents, we have spent the last few days with a feeling of disappointment, anger and frustration.
Many people across our constituencies have made, and continue to make, incredible sacrifices. People are coping with situations that were unimaginable not long ago. Some of our constituents have lost their lives and many have lost people close to them, before their time.
In such a situation, nothing is more important than public confidence in the actions and messages from our Government. The way the Government have stepped up to provide huge support to protect jobs and businesses, to ensure that our NHS and care system get what they need, in our constituencies, in County Durham, and across the whole United Kingdom, is without precedent. This phenomenal effort has been re-enforced many-fold by the small acts of kindness and collective responsibility by individuals and groups within our communities. The last thing we want to see is this enormous national collective effort being undermined by the irresponsible actions of individuals.
We had been relentlessly demanding that the Prime Minister’s adviser give an account of the timeline of his visit to County Durham and answer the valid questions of ourselves and our constituents. Mr Cummings' personal statement dealt with a number of concerns, such as the misleading Guardian story about the police and the untrue story in The Mirror concerning allegations of multiple family trips to his parents. Overall, we believe his actions to be motivated out of his desire as a parent to do what he thought was necessary in protecting his family. However, in the same circumstances, none of us would have made the decisions he made – particularly over the visit to Barnard Castle. We also closely followed the statements from Durham Constabulary as they clarified what had happened.
It is our collective view that, above all else, this continuing situation is creating a major distraction from the vital work of the Government as it leads our country in combatting the global Coronavirus pandemic. More locally, it has meant the three of us have had to devote substantial time and energy away from our most important tasks of being there for our constituents, promoting County Durham, and getting the investment and opportunities for our county that are long overdue.
As your MPs for Bishop Auckland, North West Durham, and Sedgefield, we will continue to focus our efforts on providing help and support to our constituents at this very difficult time. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people we are honoured to serve.
With our very best wishes,
Richard Holden MP, North West Durham
Dehenna Davison MP, Bishop Auckland
Paul Howell MP, Sedgefield