Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has been accused of ignoring the government’s guidance on travel in a “hypocritical” manner after he crossed tier boundaries to attend church.
The Commons leader was seen on Sunday attending St Mary’s catholic church in Glastonbury – which had been in tier 4 before another national lockdown came into force.
The Conservative MP travelled from home in his North East Somerset constituency, which had been in tier 3 prior to lockdown, to join the special “old rite” Latin mass.
Government guidance said people should not travel from one tier to another to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. “Wherever possible people should avoid travelling,” it stated.
Mr Rees-Mogg’s office said the service had been the only “old rite mass available in the diocese”.
However, the guidance on travel between tiers made clear “you should stay local and avoid travelling outside of your local area” – and made no exemptions for religious services.
“A number of people are very cross about this,” 55-year-old Glastonbury resident Liz Williams told The Mirror, which first reported on Mr Rees-Mogg’s journey. “I think the anger in town is the fact that not only is this not essential … but that he is actually a member of the government that is setting this policy.
“It just seems yet again like there is one rule for us and one rule for the rest of them.”
She added: “Look I am not a Christian, I am not a Tory, I am just a normal upstanding member of the community who is fed up of this hypocritical approach from the people that are setting these rules.”
Another Glastonbury resident, who did not wish to be named, told Somerset Live: “I don’t know why he considered it important enough to completely ignore all the guidance his own people are putting out there.”
Father Bede Rowe, of The Church of Our Lady St Marys, confirmed to The Mirror that Mr Rees-Mogg attended the afternoon Latin mass on 3 January.
A spokesman for Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The Leader of the House regularly attends the only old rite mass available in the Clifton diocese which meets his religious obligations.”
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