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Jenrick defends spending lockdown in Herefordshire instead of London

The Cabinet minister’s children attend school in London and his wife works in the capital.

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Robert Jenrick (Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street/PA)

Robert Jenrick (Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street/PA)

Robert Jenrick (Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street/PA)

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has defended his decision to spend the lockdown at his home in Herefordshire rather than in London after questions were raised about the move.

As he headed the daily Downing Street press conference on the coronavirus crisis, Mr Jenrick was asked if he should apologise for the claim that Herefordshire is his family home as his children attend school in London and his wife works in the capital.

The Newark MP said: “I joined my family at our home in Herefordshire as soon as I was able to do so, as soon as we made the decision that it was no longer necessary to work in person in Westminster.

“I’ve been there since, I’ve been working from home and returned to Westminster last night to do this press conference because Parliament returns next week.”

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

Mr Jenrick also came in for scrutiny earlier this month after it emerged he had visited his elderly parents. He said the trip was to deliver medicine to the self-isolating couple.

The Cabinet minister said: “I wouldn’t want people to feel concerned that they can’t do something like that to help their own parents or elderly relatives who are in need.

“We all need to follow the social distancing guidelines. I try to do that, but I appreciate that it is challenging for many people and for many families.”

Mr Jenrick has said he respected social distancing when he dropped off medicines and other essentials to his parents.

While the Government’s guidelines say people should not visit anyone who lives outside their own home, including elderly relatives, members of the public are allowed to “leave your house to help them, for example by dropping shopping or medication at their door”.

Earlier this month Catherine Calderwood resigned as Scotland’s chief medical officer after she visited her holiday home twice during the lockdown.

PA