Richard Fuller MP accepts Cummings decision despite own personal lockdown anxiety

Richard Fuller speaking in Parliament
Richard Fuller speaking in Parliament

North East Bedfordshire MP, Richard Fuller (Conservative) says he “understands and accepts” the Prime Minister’s decision to not sack Dominic Cummings, despite not being able to see his own elderly father because he was sticking to lockdown rules.

In an email to a number of constituents, that has now been shared with the Bedford Independent, Mr Fuller shared his own sacrifices made during the coronavirus lockdown.

“Like most people, I have followed the guidance,” he said. “My father is 90 and lives alone. During the lockdown we learned that his brother, my uncle, had died.

“I did not visit him. As for many others, these circumstances created great anxiety.”

In the email, he adds that “words used by constituents to express their feeling[s] ‘disgust’, ‘incensed’, ‘disgraceful’, ‘shameful’, ‘anger’, convey clearly how deeply hurtful this revelation has been for them.”

Despite this, Mr Fuller says he “understands and accepts” the Prime Minister’s decision to not sack his Chief Advisor, who police now say may have broken lockdown rules.

Adding, “if we want humanity in our politics, we need to understand our leaders are human.”

In March, Mr Cummings’ drove his wife, who had coronavirus symptoms, and his son from his home in London to his parents’ farm in County Durham.

Dominic Cummings - REUTERS:Hannah McKay
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts to the media as he arrives at his home in London. Image: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The revelations have led to Junior minister Douglas Ross resigning saying “he couldn’t defend Government policy as a Government Minister” after Mr Cumming’s actions.

45 Tory MPs, have now also called upon Mr Cummings to resign, including nearby South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous.

53 other Tory MPs have also broken ranks and publicly criticised Mr Cummings, but stopped short of saying he should resign.

Mr Fuller is not on either list, but still says he wants to be able to look “constituents in the eye” knowing he voted for the lockdown measures, and how they’ve been carried out.

While he may not be openly critical, Mr Fuller does say he has conveyed the opinions of his constituents “and the emotional force behind many of them” to the Prime Minister, although it’s not known exactly what he said.

“Some constituents stated explicitly that they expect a higher standard from public officials. I agree,” continued Mr Fuller.

“Over the lockdown period, we have had a series of officials who have been found to have broken the rules: in a sense, we have been here before.”

Mr Fuller defended his decision not to join calls for Mr Cummings to resign or be sacked saying “I am not prepared to condemn him for the actions he took.

“Nobody in public life deserves a ‘free pass’ but if we want humanity in our politics, we need to understand our leaders are human.”

“Quite rightly in this country we expect our leaders to “do as they say”, but equally, I would hope, we can be fair and compassionate when needed.”

“A sense of humanity should be taken into account”

Speaking to the Bedford Independent about his letter, Mr Fuller added: “A sense of humanity should be taken into account but should not outweigh egregious misuse of public office.

“I read all the emails sent to me and many included compelling accounts of personal experiences of the lockdown. A sense of humanity was at the core of these.

“I then reconsidered the other examples of public officials who may have transgressed the regulations.

“They all clearly acted in ways that many of those who wrote to me had not, but they all seemed to stem from basic human considerations, not from attempts to misuse a position or obtain an undue gain.

“This consideration weighed heavily with me, but I accept that each of us could reach a different view.”

Mr Fuller acknowledged that his views may not “rest easily” with some of the constituents who wrote to him.

“However, I feel that a sense of humanity has been lacking in our political discourse for years now,” he added.

“Different sides of an argument rage against the other; always stating their opinion, rarely if ever listening to the other side.

“Having a discourse and accepting different conclusions is not weak, it is the foundation for progress.”

We also asked Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries for her views on the apparent breach of lockdown rules by Dominic Cummings, she did not respond.