Homerton College and Girton College are in Browne's South Cambridgeshire constituencyWikimedia/David Woolfall

Anthony Browne, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, has supported Dominic Cummings, following yesterday’s revelations that the Senior Advisor to Boris Johnson drove from London to Durham while showing symptoms for coronavirus, in an apparent breach of the government lockdown.

The Guardian and the Daily Mirror revealed that, at the end of March, Cummings drove with his wife and 4-year-old son 264-miles to be nearer to his parents in Durham, despite himself and his wife having coronavirus symptoms.

Cummings claims he behaved “reasonably and legally” and made the trip in order “to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.”

Mirroring comments made by many Conservative frontbenchers, Browne tweeted, “With Dominic Cummings and his wife unwell, it is clear they had good medical reasons to isolate at their parents so their children could be looked after.

“It would be a risk to their children not to do that. There is absolutely no reason for him to resign.”

The government advice, in place since March 17th, states that anyone with coronavirus symptoms should not leave the house under any circumstances.

Browne shared a copy of these stay-at-home regulations when the lockdown was announced on 23rd March, writing: “Please, follow the rules and only leave home to: shop for essential supplies; for any medicinal need; to exercise once per day; go to work if you absolutely cannot work from home”.

Browne did not respond to Varsity's request for comment on Saturday (23/05) following claims published in The Mirror and The Observer that Cummings broke the lockdown for a second time, which throws into question his justification that it was to ensure the safety of his child.

On 27th May, Browne wrote to his constituents who had raised their concerns over the weekend. Browne said that he “completely understand[s] the public anger. It is unacceptable for those who make the rules to break them”.

He continued by addressing the statement Cummings delivered at 10 Downing Street on Monday (25/05), proposing that “the immediate welfare of a vulnerable four year old child was at stake and I am satisfied that the decisions made by Mr Cummings, at a time of enormous pressure, were in the best interests of his child and did not breach the rules.”

In the letter, Browne did not address the controversy surrounding Cummings’ journey to Barnard Castle. He instead expressed desire to move on from the row, stating “my overriding feeling now is that we need to draw a line under this issue and move on to more important matters”.

In a news conference today, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said, “If you’re symptomatic, you stay at home, take yourself out of society as quickly as you can and stay there, unless there’s extreme risk to life.”

However, many are questioning whether there was an “extreme risk to life” meriting the journey if Cummings was in a fit state to drive 264-miles.

Daniel Zeichner, Labour MP for Cambridge, declined to comment on Browne’s tweet directly, but told Varsity that he thought Cummings “should have resigned this morning” and was “unfit to be holding a senior government position”.

Labour have called for an “urgent investigation into allegations Dominic Cummings broke the coronavirus lockdown rules”.

Professor Stephen Baker, a microbiologist at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease has called for “better leadership” in response to the Cummings travel row.

Baker, who led a team of Cambridge University scientists in developing a new test for coronavirus that is already being used in Addenbrookes, tweeted: “This why we have an epidemic and whilst other countries controlled it.”

“Not even those who put the restrictions in place can follow the rules they set out. If there are no consequences, the message is we can all do what we want.”

Cambridge University Conservative Association, on the other hand, told Varsity that Cummings “is right to ignore calls for his resignation”.

They continued: “Cummings’ detractors have been waiting for any opportunity to try to hound him out because he has caused so much trouble for them in the past.

“Those criticising him today are quite clearly trying to smear him and have chosen to ignore his reasonable explanation for travelling to Durham.”

Browne, who was elected as an MP in December, previously worked with Boris Johnson during his time as London Mayor.

This is not the first time the MP has expressed support for Cummings. Cummings’ attendance at SAGE had raised concerns about the independence of the scientific group which has advised the government throughout the pandemic.

On 24th April, Browne retweeted a message from Conservative MP Damian Green which stated that it was “garbage” to question the aide’s attendance at SAGE meetings.

Updated Saturday 20:02: This article was updated in light of the allegations that Cummings broke the lockdown for a second time.

Updated 27 May 16.35: This article was updated to account for the letter Browne sent to constiuents on 27th May.