Unelected elite not following any rules. Rings a bell? Read this brilliant thread by Dr Rob Palmer on how not only Dominic Cummings has broken lockdown rules, he also broke his own job’s Code of Conduct.


First published in May 2020.

Let's take a forensic look at #DominicCummnings conduct during lockdown. S.3 of the Ministerial Code deals with appointments of special advisers and refers to the 'Code of Conduct for Special Advisers', which states they 'must not take public part in political controversy'. 1/14

Paragraph 14 (SAs Code) is unambiguous: 'Special advisers must not take public part in political controversy, through any form of statement whether in speeches or letters to the press, or in books, social media, articles or leaflets'.  They must avoid personal attacks. 2/14

In Cummings case, he has become the story - he is the political controversy. After Cummings called for 'misfits and weirdos' to apply for jobs in Downing Street, Andrew Sabisky was hired; 'superforecaster' Sabinsky later resigned for becoming the story over rascist comments. 3/14

Para 18 states SAs are exempt from the Civil Service Code in that they aren't required to be impartial. Involvement in political activity isn't restricted like it is for other civil servants but are otherwise required to conduct themselves in accordance with the CCC (p.8). 4/14

SAs are temporary civil servants appointed in accordance with Part 1 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Para 8 (SAs Code) states: 'SAs are 'bound by the standards of integrity and honesty required of all civil servants as set out in the Civil Service Code'. 5/14

S. 3.3 (MC) states All SAs advisers 'must uphold their responsibility to the Govt as a whole, not just to their appointing Minister. The responsibility for the management & conduct of SAs, inc. discipline, rests with the Minister who made the appointment i.e. @BorisJohnson 6/14

S. 3.3 (Ministerial Code) continues: 'Individual Ministers will be accountable to the PM, Parliament & THE PUBLIC for their actions & decisions in respect of their SAs'. So, it is for the public & parliamentarians to hold the PM to account for Cumming's actions. 7/14

We all know that #DominicCummnings took a birthday jaunt for his wife, Mary Wakefield (who CAN DRIVE) on 12th April to Barnard Castle. After being spotted by Robin Lees (who took down Cummings No. plate), Cummings & the PM were forced to concoct an absurd story as cover. 8/14

After 4 days the best they could come up with was that he decided to test whether his eyesight was good enough drive, with his 4-y-o son & wife in the car. Arguably unlawful, certainly reckless, that wasn't a decision made with 'integrity' but revealed he's no genius 9/14

In a well-rehearsed statement, Cummings said on several occasions that he 'hadn't thought about' many things, when questioned by journalists. His (& PM's) judgement needs serious reflection. Certainly putting your wife & child in danger isn't the actions of a caring father. 10/14

While several (Brexiter) faithfull Cabinet Ministers maintain the line that Cummings was taking care of his young family, @michaelgove claimed Cummings 'wise' to drive to test his eyesight & couldn't see the relevance of the journey taking place on his wife's birthday! 11/14

I hate to conflate Brexit with a devasting pandemic BUT the same populist tactics (that were so successful for getting it over the line) have been used throughout the crisis. The same tactic of fabricating lies has become endemic in Tory ranks - they know othing different. 12/14

It may have been OK for those who wanted Brexit to use such tactics during the whole sorry saga, but it is another thing to use such tactics when 10s of 1000s of Britons are dying, without loved ones by their side (who were following the rules). It's time to stop the lies. 13/14

At the end of the day, Cummings & his wife (she's just as culpable) didn't have exceptional circumstances; especially not those intended (such as abuse). The Cummings didn't find themselves in a situation any different to millions of parents trying to protect their kids. 14/14

-- END --







[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 26 May 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Screenshot of Dominic Cummings on ITV.)



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