Head nurse confirms she was taken out of briefing during Dominic Cummings’ fury

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Ruth May was removed from a government press briefing (Photo: PA / Getty)

England’s chief nurse has confirmed she was pulled from a number 10 press briefing during the lockdown storm surrounding Dominic Cummings.

Ruth May was scheduled to appear alongside Health Secretary Matt Hancock on June 1, but was cut off when she felt unable to defend the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, according to The Independent.

Ministers had previously denied that Ms May was barred from answering questions because she refused to defend Mr Cummings after moving his family 260 miles from London to Durham to stay on her parents’ farm amid strict travel restrictions were in place during the lockdown.

But speaking to MPs on Monday, Ms May confirmed that she had prepared for a press conference in June but had been resigned.

She told the Commons Public Accounts Committee that she did not know why she was abandoned.

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“It is indeed true that I was excluded from a briefing, but it also happens to a lot of my colleagues,” Ms. May told MPs, adding: “It is a regular occurrence. “

Head nurse for England Ruth May at a press conference in Downing Street

Head nurse for England Ruth May at a press briefing in Downing Street (Photo: PA)

Pushed on why she was not allowed to appear, she said, “I don’t know why I was abandoned, chair. ”

Ms May, asked if there was a question about defending Mr Cummings, she said: “At all the press briefings we talk about a lot of these readiness issues.

“And yes of course I was asked about the lockdown and the lockout rules, yes. ”

Ms May said she believes the home foreclosure rules apply to everyone in the country.

She said: “I think in my opinion the rules are clear and they are there for everyone’s safety and they apply to all of us. ”

His words echoed those of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam who, when asked about Mr Cummings’ example at a May 30 briefing, said the lockdown rules “apply to everyone”.

In her initial article, the Independent quoted an NHS source as saying Ms May was fired after saying she would follow the lead set by Professor Van-Tam, who was also allegedly subsequently blacklisted for several weeks.

A second source reportedly told the media: “Everyone is invited to support the government’s positions before holding a press conference.

“If they don’t, they are abandoned.

Ruth May outside St Thomas' Hospital in central London on International Nurses Day in May

Ruth May outside St Thomas’ Hospital in central London on International Nurses Day in May (Photo: PA)

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘It is scandalous that the country’s oldest nurse has been silenced during the height of the pandemic because she was not ready to parrot Downing Street on Dominic Cummings’ flagrant rule violation.

“As the head nurse points out, it’s unacceptable that there is one rule for Johnson’s elite friends and another for the rest of us. ”

Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Layla Moran said the incident suggested ministers were “happy to shut down science when it suits them.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the government against the allegations during a press briefing on June 12.

Asked about the allegations last month, Mr Shapps said: “I don’t think that’s true.

“She (Ms. May) has been there a number of times before.

“I’m absolutely sure she’s been a regular contributor before and I’m sure she’ll be back here.

The government ended the daily press conference on June 23, choosing instead to rephrase them for announcements on an ad hoc basis.

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