Labour MP resigns as Whip after admitting breaking lockdown rules

31 May 2020, 11:12 | Updated: 31 May 2020, 11:22

Rosie Duffield has resigned from Labour's front benches after admitting flouting lockdown rules
Rosie Duffield has resigned from Labour's front benches after admitting flouting lockdown rules. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A Labour MP has resigned as a Whip after admitting breaking lockdown rules.

Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury, has apologised for meeting her partner while they were living separately in April, in breach of coronavirus restrictions.

The Mail on Sunday said that she met her married partner for a long walk in her constituency in April, and that the MP also did not deny he visited her constituency house.

Ms Duffield, 48, told the paper that the pair observed the two-metre social distancing rules, but these incidents were before meetings between people from different households was allowed.

The pair are now thought to be living in the same property and her partner has separated from his wife.

In a statement Ms Duffield said: "My partner and I have been attempting to navigate a difficult personal situation as responsibly as possible. I apologise that during that process, we breached the guidelines.

The PM is under fire to sack Dominic Cummings, who drove 260 miles to Durham
The PM is under fire to sack Dominic Cummings, who drove 260 miles to Durham. Picture: PA

"A relationship breakdown is difficult at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic.

"I hope people can understand why I took the steps I did and know that I take responsibility for the breaches that occurred and for which I apologise."

Earlier this week Ms Duffield urged her constituents to observe social distancing rules.

She tweeted: "Please remember, social distancing rules are still very much in place, very difficult on some of our narrow pavements and walkways in Whitstable but vitally important as Covid-19 is still a serious and real threat."

It emerged last weekend that in March, Mr Cummings drove from his London home to his parents' farm in County Durham with his wife - who had coronavirus symptoms - and his son.

In a public statement, the PM's chief adviser explained he decided to make the trip because he felt it would be better to self-isolate in a place where he had options for childcare if required, and insisted he had acted "reasonably" and within the law.

He added that he had made a 50-mile round-trip to Barnard Castle with his wife and child 15 days later to test his eyesight before embarking on the longer journey back to London.

On Friday, Durham police said it had concluded Mr Cummings might have broken lockdown rules, but it would have been a "minor breach".

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