MP Jacob Rees-Mogg travels 15 miles to church in Glastonbury

Written by on January 14, 2021

A SOMERSET MP has come under fire again for travelling 15 miles on a Sunday to attend church during the national lockdown.

Last week, we reported that Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the Commons and MP for North East Somerset, lives in West Harptree and attended a service in Glastonbury – travelling from a Tier 3 to a Tier 4 area.

Now there is a national lockdown, Glastonbury residents reported seeing the MP in the area on Sunday (January 10), again attending a church service.

Although you can attend services according to the Government guidance, they are advising people not to travel outside their local area.

The guidance states “when visiting a place of worship you should stay local and avoid travelling outside your local area, meaning your village or town, or part of a city”.

Kitty O’Shea, one Glastonbury resident, said she was “deeply saddened” to see the MP in the area.

“We have elderly and vulnerable people in town like anywhere else. Many of these have been under lockdown since the beginning of March, scared to go outside due to the numbers of people traveling into town.

“I understand that Mr Rees-Mogg feels that Glastonbury offers the only relevant service for himself and his family, however we are all making sacrifices in order to save lives and protect the NHS.

“Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for him to either attend via video link or even go to an alternative service closer to his home?”

Eric Mackenzie, another Glastonbury resident, said he saw Rees-Mogg leaving the Catholic Church in Glastonbury at 12.45pm on January 10.

“Rees-Mogg is the Leader of The House of Commons, a very important title, and should be setting an example,” he added.

“We, in Glastonbury, get enough so called spiritual and religious types come here during these difficult times of lockdown causing a nuisance, and they should not be encouraged by the behaviour of our leaders.”

Other residents are also angry about the situation, with one NHS worker finding it “shocking and unacceptable” that Rees-Mogg “feels the rules put in place to protect us don’t apply to him”.

A spokesperson for Rees-Mogg has said he has “followed the rules”, that individuals should stay local “where possible”.

“The Leader of the House regularly attends the only old rite mass available in the Clifton diocese which meets his religious obligations,” they added.

Tessa Munt, Glastonbury’s former MP, said the Government have told us to to behave “as if we have the virus”. 

“I understand that trips across tiers for religious worship are not illegal,” she added.

“However, I’m sure that this exemption is to enable observance, rather than a preference for a particular style of church service.

On the last two Sundays, Jacob Rees-Mogg has come from Tier 3 to Tier 4, travelling far further than he needed to observe his faith.

“The journey to Our Lady St Mary’s Church in Glastonbury is a distance of 15.2 miles from his Somerset home. Mr Rees-Mogg could observe his faith in 11 Catholic churches closer to home, including those in Chew Magna, Wells, Cheddar, Midsomer Norton, Yatton, Shepton Mallet, Bristol and Bath. Even Downside Abbey, his former school, holds services only 10 miles distant.

“From my ‘postbag’, it’s clear that local people think he’s taking the mickey. West Country Police are pleading with people to apply common sense in the interests of public health. It’s the ‘spirit’ of the rules which feels broken here. Our politicians should be leading by example, surely?”  

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