Bishops weigh into PM – ‘lied to, patronised and treated as mugs’

Church of England bishops have broken cover on twitter in a chorus of dissent over the Prime Minister’s defence of his adviser Dominic Cummings.

Bishop of Durham Paul Butler
There will be those in Durham who defend #Boris for his standing by #DominicCummngs. But most who have worked so hard to abide by the rules and guidance of the past weeks will feel hurt, angry, & let down. Trust has been broken. For the nation’s sake rebuild it quickly.

Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines
The question now is: do we accept being lied to, patronised and treated by a PM as mugs? The moral question is not for Cummings – it is for PM and ministers/MPs who find this behaviour acceptable. What are we to teach our children? (I ask as a responsible father.)

Bishop of Ripon Helen Ann Hartley
Integrity, trust and leadership were never there; just a driven misguided ideology of power that has total disregard for the most weak and vulnerable, and those who work to protect and care for us with relatively low pay. My parents live in Durham, an hour away from where we live. My father finished radiotherapy treatment just before lockdown. I’ve missed his birthday, Mothering Sunday and countless other catch-ups that would have happened. And that’s a fraction of a story compared with others.

Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes
Those many millions of people who have followed the Government’s advice and stayed at home, coping with difficulty, did the right thing and still do. Vulnerable people are alive today because of the self-discipline of so many. I thank God for their integrity… (re Martin Kettle piece in the Guardian) A fine piece of journalism, and another vindication of the value of a free press. It is not good enough to treat the people of this country like sheep who can be fooled. Pieces like this point to a true world.

Bishop of Bristol Vivienne Faull
Day 61 #livingdifferently in a nation where the PM has no respect for the people. The bonds of peace and our common life (which had been wonderfully strengthened during the testing by CV-19) have been dangerously undermined this evening.

Bishop of Norwich Graham Usher
(In response to Prime Minister @10DowningStreet tweet ‘Don’t break the rules. If you do, it won’t just impact you’) …  @bishopnorwich: ‘Indeed.’

Bishop of Willesden Pete Broadbent
Johnson has now gone the full Trump.

Bishop of Sheffield Pete Wilcox
I don’t usually tweet politics, and I have carefully steered clear during the pandemic. But tonight I must say: the PM & his cabinet are undermining the trust of the electorate and the risks to life are real.

Bishop of Reading Olivia Graham
I find myself deeply worried by the PM’s judgement call on this one. Not from a political perspective but a moral one. His response lacks both integrity and respect and he has just made his task of leading us through this crisis much, much harder.

Bishop of Penrith Emma Ineson
Goodness, Dominic Cummings must be really, really valuable to Johnson to be worth what he’s just risked by backing him ie the trust of the British people.

Former Bishop of Hereford Richard Frith
(In reply to Keir Starmer’s response) This video should be watched by all. Surely there will be some cabinet ministers who will resign in protest at the Prime Minister’s defence of the indefensible.

Bishop of Newcastle Christine Hardman
I am deeply troubled tonight by the Prime Minister’s briefing. We can forgive mistakes and poor judgement and can understand and admire loyalty but forgiveness and understanding need openness and we did not see this tonight.

Bishop of Manchester David Walker
Deeply grateful for my colleagues who have said what I feel too. Unless very soon we see clear repentance, including the sacking of Cummings, I no longer know how we can trust what ministers say sufficiently for @churchofengland to work together with them on the pandemic.

Bishop of Truro Philip Mounstephen
In this country, government and the rule of law depend largely and rightly on the principle of consent. But that depends in turn on the consistency, integrity & impartiality of govt and the application of the law. That is now hugely strained. A moment of real and serious concern.

Bishop of Worcester John IngeThe PM tells us that Cummings ‘followed the instincts of every father’ and that he ‘does not mark him down for that’. The point is that thousands and thousands of parents, including me, have not been able to follow their instincts because they felt they had to obey the rules!

Former Bishop of Sherborne, now Honorary Assistant Bishop Graham KingsString of comments, included support for other bishops’ tweets and  ‘Remember the public mood and the #PollTax? We are there again’.