Labour’s shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, has said her colleague Rosie Duffield had been “absolutely right” to resign from the party’s front bench for breaching lockdown rules, saying it was vital everyone adhered to them.
Duffield, the MP for Canterbury, resigned as a whip and apologised after newspaper revelations that she had met her partner during lockdown restrictions despite not living together.
At the time it occurred, people from separate households were still barred from meeting.
“She was absolutely right to resign,” Dodds said when asked about the issue on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show. “Clearly, she wasn’t right to have broken the rules, quite the opposite.
“It’s absolutely correct that she has immediately taken responsibility for that, as I understand it, and she has resigned. I talk to my constituents and the kind of sacrifices they have gone through to stick to the rules, to keep us all safe. Everybody has got to do that.”
While Dodds did not mention Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, who has not resigned despite apparently breaching lockdown rules to drive from London to Durham with his family, Labour will have been keen to show a very different approach to such issues.
Duffield quit her role before publication of the story in the Mail on Sunday, which said she had gone for a walk in April with James Routh, who was separating from his wife. He also visited her constituency home. He now lives at her London flat, the paper said.
The MP said they observed physical distancing rules by keeping two metres away but accepted this was before such meetings were allowed.
In a statement she 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.
“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.”
Duffield took Canterbury from the Conservatives in the 2017 election with a majority of 187, increasing this to 1,836 in December’s election.
In October, she won considerable praise for using a debate on the domestic abuse bill to chronicle her experiences at the hands of a previous partner who became controlling and threatening.