A Somerset MP has been criticised by the national press for crossing Coronavirus tiers to attend a church service in Glastonbury.
Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is North East Somerset’s MP, has been accused of ignoring the government’s guidance on travel in a “hypocritical” manner after he crossed tier boundaries to attend church.
He was seen on Sunday attending St Mary’s catholic church in Glastonbury – which had been in tier 4 before the current lockdown came into force.
The Conservative MP travelled from his home in North East Somerset, 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 Covid. “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 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.”
Father Bede Rowe, of The Church of Our Lady St Marys, confirmed to The Mirror that Mr Rees-Mogg attended the Latin mass on the afternoon of January 3rd.
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.”