Robert Jenrick defends coronavirus lockdown breach allegations after visiting his parents

Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick has defended visiting his parents during the coronavirus lockdown, insisting he did so to deliver “essentials including medicines”.

The Housing Secretary was spotted outside his parents’ Shropshire home over the weekend, which is understood to be 40 miles away from his own residence.

A witness told the Guardian about the visit and Mr Jenrick has since responded to reports of his conduct.

“For clarity – my parents asked me to deliver some essentials – including medicines,” he said on Twitter.

“They are both self-isolating due to age and my father’s medical condition and I respected social distancing rules.”

The Government’s guidelines state you should not visit anyone who lives outside your own home, including elderly relatives, though you are allowed to “leave your house to help them, for example by dropping shopping or medication at their door”.

Mr Jenrick, who is the minister responsible for local government and MP for Newark, has spoken at the daily Downing Street press conferences.

He is a key member of the Cabinet and has represented the Government in a number of broadcast interviews, pushing the stay at home guidance.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said it is up to Mr Jenrick to explain why he made the journey.

Mr Thomas-Symonds told BBC Breakfast: “There are the four reasons for leaving your house. One of them is to deliver essential supplies to vulnerable people.

“Clearly if that is what Robert Jenrick has done, then it fits within the four exceptions. It is for him to answer precisely what the purpose of the journey he undertook was.”

As well as the visit to his parents, the Daily Mail reported Mr Jenrick had travelled from his residence in London to a “second home” in Herefordshire during the lockdown.

The minister told the paper: “My house in Herefordshire is the place I, my wife and my young children consider to be our family home and my family were there before any restrictions on travel were announced.

“I have been working in London on ministerial duties, putting in place the system to shield the group most vulnerable to coronavirus and organising the response at a local level.

“Once I was able to work from home it was right that I went home to do so and be with my wife and also help care for my three young children.”

He said he would be staying at the family home until Government advice changes or he is needed in Westminster.​

On Sunday, Dr Catherine Calderwood resigned her position  as Scotland’s chief medical officer after it emerged she visited her holiday home twice during the coronavirus lockdown.


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