Remainer Tory Who Resigned Over Cummings Made Even Longer Cross-Country Trip as Home Internet Too Slow

Cummings
Photo by Sven Vee on Unsplash

Douglas Ross, the little-known former government minister who resigned from his junior position over Dominic Cummings’ movements during lockdown, made an even longer cross-country trip to London — because his home Internet was “adequate at best”.

Mr Cummings, a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum and widely despised by the mainstream media, left his London home for his family’s farm in Durham while his wife was ill with the coronavirus, because he feared no-one would be able to look after their young son if he also became sick — although he did not come in contact with his parents while he was there, staying in a separate building, even staying away from his uncle’s funeral. He contends that his movements were allowable within the lockdown rules, which make special provisions for people with particular childcare needs.

Douglas Ross, on the other hand, made his journey of several hundred miles from rural Moray, in the Scottish Highlands, back to London because his home Internet connection was “adequate at best”.

The Tory MP, who indicated that he was backing Remain in 2016 and backed Remainer leadership contender Mark Harper before Boris Johnson in 2019, resigned from his junior ministerial position in the Scotland Office, claiming Cummings’ interpretation of the rules was “not shared by the vast majority”.

Mr Ross made the long journey from northern Scotland to southern England after having managed in his home constituency for some eight weeks, claiming that, for him “home working has been successful to a point, but living in a rural part of Moray, my connection to the internet has been adequate at best.”

He also complained of two occasions when his WiFi failed during a virtual Select Committee session, and some of his contributions having “broken audio”.

Ross also said he was “required to take a small piece of legislation through the House of Commons” and answer parliamentary questions on behalf of the Scotland Office, claiming that, while arrangements have been put in place for parliamentarians to perform their roles remotely, the Speaker preferred that he was “physically in the House of Commons”.

Politicians are, as “key workers”, permitted to travel during lockdown, although members of the public may question whether those who have travelled to and from London have the moral high ground to call for Mr Cummings’ head for doing the same thing.

There is speculation that the particular ferociousness of the media and Remain-voting politicians in their pursuit of Cummings may have something to do with the fact that, on recovering from the coronavirus, he squashed a plan to extend the ongoing Brexit “transition period” — in which Britain remains an EU member in all but name — which had been “all but agreed at official level” while he and Prime Minister Johnson were out of action.

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