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Government Chief Whip and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer backs Newark MP Robert Jenrick over coronavirus lockdown claims

Government Chief Whip, and Robert Jenrick's fellow Nottinghamshire Conservative MP, Mark Spencer has backed the Newark MP over claims he failed to follow lockdown advice.

Mr Jenrick featured in the national media over claims he moved from London to his second home in Herefordshire, and also travelled a further 40 miles to deliver food and medicine to his parents.

Sherwood MP Mr Spencer said: "What he has done is taken his elderly parents medication, which is allowed, and that's all. I believe his explanation.

Mark Spencer (33317110)
Mark Spencer (33317110)

"Robert is a very bright chap and has a complete understanding of the rules as they are.

"He wouldn't break the rules."

Asked if it was appropriate for Mr Jenrick to drive 150 miles from London to Herefordshire to isolate with his family, Mr Spencer said: "Well I'm isolating in Nottinghamshire so he is closer to London than me. I wanted to be close to my family.

"With the wonders of modern technology, it is possible to work very well remotely.

"Robert has been on every Zoom conference I have been on.

"He is right at the centre of the machine dealing with Covid-19, working with local councils and other organisations continuing to find ways of helping people through this pandemic.

"As Communities Secretary, he is co-ordinating and assisting getting support to people in an unprecedented crisis and this is nothing more than a distraction.

"Condemning him is ridiculous.

"He should be receiving praise and thanks for the great job that he is doing, not criticism.

"His work is saving lives and helping vulnerable people."

Mr Spencer said an explanation as to whether that as Communities Secretary, Mr Jenrick should have ensured there was support enough in the locality of Shropshire where his parents live rather than taking it upon himself was a matter for him.

"Only he knows whether his parents are getting everything that they need within their community," he said.

He described calls for Mr Jenrick to go as "frankly nothing more than party political rubbish."

Mr Spencer said it was essential that with the four-day weekend bringing sunshine and hot weather, the distraction caused by Mr Jenrick's trips did not cloud the message.

"It is important that people do not lose sight of the emergency," he said: "Non-essential journeys are out, stay at home, do not go and see family and friends. Only conduct essential trips."

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