Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

JOHN NICOLSON: I feel like I am letting my mother down by not visiting her, and then I see the shameful Dominic Cummings affair

John Nicolson.
John Nicolson.

I have seldom witnessed in politics a more shameful episode than the Cummings affair.

I’ve always thought Boris Johnson unprincipled and mendacious. But, when I watched him at his press conference, I was appalled – especially by his claim that Dominic Cummings followed his “instinct as a father”.

Dominic Cummings.

It was to misunderstand, deliberately, the questions being asked of him. All of us have an instinct to be with, protect, and care for those we love. We’ve been putting aside that instinct, however, because we accepted that our sacrifices have been for the common good.

My own mum is in her 90s and in a respite home following a protracted stay in hospital. She is desperate to get back to her flat. She is even more desperate to see her two sons.

Despite this, for these long weeks, I have been unable to visit and now the nurses tell me that she has stopped eating and seems deeply depressed.

I feel a huge sense of responsibility, and I feel too that I am letting her down, even though I know I have no other choice.

Silence “indefensible”

This is not an issue of right or left. It’s a matter of justice. I try not to be a tribal politician, after many years as a journalist where my personal allegiances had to come second to the story. And I know that there are many decent Conservative MPs who have gone on the record to say that the behaviour of the Prime Minister is indefensible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But equally, the behaviour of the Cabinet is craven and the silence of the Scottish Conservative Party is contemptible.

Over the past few days, I have received scores of emails from constituents — some of whom have lost loved ones — deeply angered by the behaviour of Dominic Cummings, and the prime minister who rushed to his defence.

I have no way of knowing how this will unfold. Boris Johnson has an 80-seat majority. If he wants to, he can probably brazen this out. But it brings the rule of law into disrepute.

And, for me, it once again emphasises how important it is that we get to choose our own path as a country, away from the toxic political culture embedded at Westminster.


John Nicolson is the SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]