SOUTH West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison has stopped short of backing calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser to be sacked.

Several hundred constituents, as well as Ellen Nicholson, the Liberal Democrat Party’s General Election candidate for South West Wiltshire, and Trowbridge LibDem councillors, have called on Dr Murrison to support the call for Dominic Cummings to be dismissed.

The Lib Dems have written to Dr Murrison urging Conservative Party MPs to “end the distractions” and support calls for scandal-hit Mr Cummings to go, so the country can focus on the coronavirus emergency.

In the letter, LibDem South West Wiltshire councillors and Ellen Nicholson urge all Conservative MPs to “put the interests of your constituent’s first, end the distractions and join the growing number of Conservative MPs who are calling for Dominic Cummings to go.”

The clamour for Mr Cummings to be sacked follows his trips from London to Durham, and a 30-mile jaunt to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’ during the coronavirus lockdown.

On Wednesday, Dr Murrison said: “I have received several hundred emails and messages about his conduct.

“I completely empathise with the fury expressed by my constituents. The public has been incredibly disciplined throughout this crisis, many suffering grievously as a result of compliance in good faith with the rules.

“From what has been reported, it looks to me like Mr Cummings broke lockdown rules on a number of counts. I have particular difficulty understanding his account of the Barnard Castle outing.

“Because we are human we all make mistakes under pressure and our judgement when ill can be impaired. The difference is that those in the public eye have their errors displayed for all to see.

“It is also the case that Mr Cummings has over the years made many enemies. They and his political opponents are among those who have been calling for his scalp, including locally.

“Equally, people contacting me with no obvious axe to grind are angry that one of the main authors of the rules has apparently not observed them. It’s hardly surprising if they view that as wrong and unfair.

“Mr Cummings has chosen not to step down. Whatever the truth or otherwise of his version of events, there remains the very real risk that his continued presence degrades credibility in the government and thus the fight against COVID19.

“That must surely be apparent to him and I hope he will be reflecting further on it. However, whatever you or I think about an individual, and I should say I know Mr Cummings only by reputation, we should be prepared to extend the same fairness that we would want for ourselves. We must avoid trial by media.

“Therefore, for as long as Mr Cummings protests that he acted lawfully and reasonably and insists on remaining in post, and subject to any inquiries by Durham Constabulary, I would say there is a good case for an independent analysis of the facts.”

The call comes alongside LibDem demands for an independent inquiry into the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, while several Conservative MPs have also broken cover to call for Dominic Cummings to quit, amid claims he broke coronavirus lockdown rules twice.

Mrs Nicholson said: “People right across South West Wiltshire have made incredible sacrifices to stop the coronavirus. Even if the Prime Minister keeps his blinkers on, Andrew Murrison cannot be oblivious to how angry people are with this scandal. “Each minute this scandal is allowed to drag on is another minute the Government is distracted from upscaling Britain’s testing capacity, securing PPE for frontline workers and preventing the tragic deaths in our care homes.

“Andrew Murrison must put the health, wellbeing and economy of our country before efforts to save the Prime Minister’s adviser.”