Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam Says Rules 'Apply To All' Amid Dominic Cummings Row

"In my opinion, the rules are clear and they have always been clear."
Jonathan Van-Tam
Jonathan Van-Tam
BBC News

Get the latest on coronavirus. Sign up to the Daily Brief for news, explainers, how-tos, opinion and more.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam has given his view on the Dominic Cummings row, saying lockdown rules “apply to all”.

Despite ministers insisted that he did not break any rules, the controversy around Cumming’s trip from London to Durham during lockdown – and a subsequent trip to Barnard Castle to “test his eyesight” – has rumbled on.

Asked during the government’s coronavirus press conference on Saturday whether people in authority should “give a lead” and obey the rules “above all” amid questions about the PM’s chief adviser, Van-Tam said the rules “are clear”.

"In my opinion, the rules are clear and they have always been clear. In my opinion, they are for the benefit of all, and in my opinion, they apply to all"

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam is asked whether people in authority should obey the lockdown rules


— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 30, 2020

“Thank you for the question and I’m quite happy to answer it,” he said.

“In my opinion the rules are clear and they have always been clear.

“In my opinion they are for the benefit of all. And in my opinion they apply to all.”

Van-Tam’s comments come after a number of other government advisers have avoided commenting on Cummings, who is Boris Johnson’s top aide in Number 10.

Meanwhile, culture secretary Oliver Dowden said Cummings had given a “very extensive explanation” of his behaviour during lockdown.

“The prime minister accepted that explanation and on that basis kept him in post. That remains the position.”

Van-Tam also used the conference to warn that Britain is facing a “very dangerous moment” with the easing of lockdown restrictions.

He urged for the public to show restraint as shutdown measures are eased in England from Monday.

The government and the public have a “dual responsibility” to prevent a second wave of coronavirus, Van-Tam said, adding: “I believe this is also a very dangerous moment. We have to get this right.”

“This is a dual responsibility here of government to go slowly and carefully and to take the advice from the scientists,” he said.

“Of the scientists, to watch this whole thing very closely over the next few weeks.

“And, of the public in general to actually follow the guidance.

“Don’t tear the pants out of it, and don’t go further than the guidance actually says.”


What's Hot