Anti-Cummings SNP Leader Travelled 600+ Miles from London to Skye During Lockdown

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Ian Blackford, leader of the left-separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) contingent in the British parliament, made a journey of over 600 miles from London to the Isle of Skye during lockdown.

Blackford, a wealthy former investment banker from Edinburgh, has been relentless in his calls for Dominic Cummings, Boris’s Johnson’s chief adviser and a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum, to be sacked for travelling to his family farm in Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.

Cummings has contended that he was within his rights to do so given the rules allow for travel to meet particular childcare needs, which he believes he had. He has received the backing of the Attorney-General and — so far — the Prime Minister.

Blackford, who perhaps not coincidentally is a staunch EU loyalist bitterly opposed to Brexit, has been pressuring the Prime Minister to withdraw this support from Mr Cummings, claiming it is “One rule for them and another for the rest of us” — but he himself made a journey of well over 600 miles from London to his Skye estate in his home constituency after the lockdown was announced; far further than Cummings travelled.

Blackford made the journey after the lockdown was announced despite the fact that, like most MPs, he has a home in London, claiming a remarkable £22,775.73 from the taxpayer in accommodation rent and Council Tax costs in 2018-19, and his own repeated calls from people not to travel from coronavirus epicentres like London to remote and sparsely populated areas like Skye, where acute healthcare infrastructure is weak.

His defenders have argued that he was within his rights, under the rules, to travel to his primary residence in his home constituency after the parliamentary recess was announced — even though he did not need to do so — and that MPs have additional leeway to travel as so-called “key workers”.

His detractors, however, argue that Cummings also believes his movements were permissible under the rules, and that Blackford therefore has no moral high ground to demand Cummings’ termination for leaving London when he did the same thing.

It is true that Blackford was by no means the only MP to have travelled to their home constituency from London during the lockdown — another was Douglas Ross, the Tory Remainer who travelled to his home constituency and back again due to its merely “adequate” Internet services.

Ross has, somewhat inexplicably, now resigned from his junior government position over Cummings’ movements, despite the fact they were less extensive than his own.

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