Boris Johnson accused of flouting coronavirus guidelines by staying in ‘holiday home’

PUBLISHED: 09:18 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:30 15 April 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he speaks from 10 Downing Street praising NHS staff in a video message for saving his life as he was discharged from hospital a week after being admitted with persistent coronavirus symptoms. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he speaks from 10 Downing Street praising NHS staff in a video message for saving his life as he was discharged from hospital a week after being admitted with persistent coronavirus symptoms. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire.

While the media chastised politicians who have been visiting their second homes and flouting the coronavirus guidance, they have welcomed a decision to send Boris Johnson to his country house in Buckinghamshire.

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Just days before the prime minister left hospital, newspapers were criticising Scotland’s former chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood for breaching lockdown rules to visit her holiday home, before she resigned, and communities secretary Robert Jenrick who travelled 40 miles to visit his parents.

But some newspapers over the past few days have devoted wall-to-wall coverage on how Boris Johnson is spending time at his official country residence 41 miles from Downing Street to recuperate after leaving hospital on Easter Sunday.

The house and its 1,000 acre estate in the Chilterns were gifted a century ago to whoever holds the office of prime minister as a retreat from the bustle of Downing Street.

Johnson’s usual residence is the “spacious” four-bedroom flat above Number 11 where prime ministers including Theresa May, David Cameron, and Tony Blair have resided.

Tony Blair decided to make the flat his official residence rather than the two-bedroom accommodation above Number 10 as he had a bigger family than his chancellor Gordon Brown.

“So Boris is out of hospital and now travelling from London to Buckinghamshire to enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend at Chequers, despite him having a main residence in London,” said one. “Travelling to a second home is against government guidelines. Toryism is do as I say not as I do...”

“How come it’s not okay for the public to go on holiday or visit their holiday homes, but the PM can visit Chequers, his little weekend retreat?” asked @BebsDotter. “Talk about hypocrisy and mixed messages! Aren’t we all in this together any more?”

“Is it right for Boris Johnson to rehab at Chequers when everyone else has been told not to travel to holiday homes?” asked Ella Hayes.

“Hang on, Boris is off to his second home at Chequers?” enquired Keith McRae. “How is that staying at home, not going to the countryside or on “virus retreats”. The advice is not to go to holiday homes and to stay put.”

“Isn’t that his holiday home?” pondered Graeme Moore. “Didn’t the Scottish Health Advisor resign over the fact she visited her holiday home? Regardless of his health, he’s meant to stay put like rest of us.”

“Non essential travel that’s what they are advising,” posted Sallyanne Greenfield. “But this doesn’t seem to include Boris going to Chequers or that now his girlfriend has also joined him in their second/holiday home”.


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