The under-secretary of state for Scotland has become the first UK government minister to resign from cabinet after PM Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings allegedly broke lockdown rules at the height of Covid-19 crisis.

In his resignation letter, published on social media on Monday morning, junior minister Douglas Ross insisted that he had constituents who had not been able to say “goodbye to loved ones” and were not allowed to “mourn together” as a family during the coronavirus pandemic.  

I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.

I haven’t commented publicly on the situation with Dominic Cummings as I have waited to hear the full details. I welcome the statement to clarify matters, but there remains aspects of the explanation which I have trouble with. As a result I have resigned as a government Minister.

Ross wrote that while Cummings’ “intentions may have been well meaning,” the vast majority of Brits do not agree with his interpretation of the lockdown rules – measures the public has had to strictly abide by.

During his press conference on Monday, Cummings offered a lengthy defense of his 260-mile lockdown trip across England – from his primary residence in London to his parents’ estate in Durham in the north east of the country. His lack of apology has sparked fury across the political spectrum and left many asking more questions.

The 48-year-old claims the journey was justified because he was worried that his ill wife and he – who had been in close working contact with Covid-19-infected Downing Street figures such as the UK PM, could become too incapacitated to look after their four-year-old child.

Reacting to the resignation, a Downing Street spokesman it would not be drawn on the precise nature of Ross’ protestations, but did say that “The Prime Minister would like to thank Douglas Ross for his service to government and regrets his decision to stand down as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland.”

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