ROBERT Jenrick has defended driving 150miles to his second home after claiming he was delivering meds to his elderly parents.
The cabinet minister left London for his £1.1million home in Herefordshire — where he is now living with his family — before making a 40-mile trip to visit his elderly parents in Shropshire.
He has been blasted for the journeys after travel to second homes were banned under the coronavirus lockdown rules.
But Mr Jenrick tweeted last night: “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”.
Neighbours of the housing secretary told the Guardian he and his wife Michal Berkner had been regularly dropping off supplies to his parents’ home during lockdown.
But appears that Mr Jenrick still has the support of his party with a No 10 insider claiming he had given “a full account” of himself, adding: “We are backing him.”
The housing secretary has been at the heart of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis, and gave a press conference in Downing Street on March 29, at which he updated the nation on the latest virus advice.
He later travelled to his Herefordshire property where he has given several media interviews via videolink.
The MP for Newark, in Nottinghamshire, told the Daily Mail: “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.
“By staying at home, we protect the NHS and help save lives. I will be staying at my family home until Government advice changes or if I am needed in person in Westminster before the parliamentary session resumes after the Easter recess.”
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said it was important for Mr Jenrick to explain himself but stopped short of calling for his resignation.
He 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.”
Government guidelines say you should not visit family except if they need help, such as getting shopping or medication.
On March 23 new instructions were issued warning people to stay at home and not visit second homes “whether for isolation purposes or holidays”.
It added: “People should remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.”