A government minister has defended himself after it was revealed he visited his elderly parents 40 miles away during the coronavirus lockdown.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick explained that he was delivering medicine and other essential items to them as they are self-isolating at home due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Mr Jenrick, who has spoken at the daily Downing Street news conference to reinforce the “stay at home” message, added that he had respected the government’s social distancing guidelines.
Government guidelines say you should not visit anyone who lives outside your home, including elderly relatives, but you are allowed to “leave your house to help them, for example by dropping shopping or medication at their door”.
Mr Jenrick’s visit was revealed by The Guardian, which quoted a witness as saying they saw the minister visiting his parents’ Shropshire house at the weekend.
Responding to the report, Mr Jenrick wrote on Twitter: “For clarity – my parents asked me to deliver some essentials – including medicines.
“They are both self-isolating due to age and my father’s medical condition and I respected social distancing rules.”
He included a link to The Guardian’s story in his tweet.
The Daily Mail has also reported that Mr Jenrick travelled from his London residence to a “second home” in Herefordshire.
Mr Jenrick told the newspaper that he considers the property to be his “family home”, adding that they travelled 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,” he told the newspaper.
“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.”
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