Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has said her colleague Rosie Duffield was “absolutely right” to resign from Labour’s frontbench for breaching lockdown rules, on the basis, it’s vital everyone adheres to them.
“Clearly, she wasn’t right to have broken the rules, quite the opposite. It’s absolutely correct 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’ve gone through to stick to the rules, to keep us all safe. Everybody has got to do that,” Dodds said on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.
Duffield quit before the publication of a story in the Mail on Sunday, which exposed how she’d gone for a five-hour walk in April with James Routh, then in process of separating from his wife - he also visited her constituency home, and now lives at her London flat, the outlet reported.
Duffield insisted the pair observed physical distancing rules by keeping two metres away at all times, but accepted the meetings occurred before they were permitted under lockdown rules.
“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,” she said in a statement.
Friends of Routh’s wife, with whom he has three children, told the Mail she’s “heartbroken” by the break-up.
“His wife had no idea this was coming. She didn’t know anything and thought her husband was happy. She’s not only heartbroken about what’s happened, but also that Rosie is telling her supporters not to break the rules when she’s doing exactly that. And the fact Rosie couldn’t wait until the pandemic was over,” a nameless pal said.