Priti’s lockdown muddle

Priti's lockdown muddle
(Photo by Pippa Fowles / No. 10 Downing Street)
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At tonight's Covid press conference, the Home Secretary Priti Patel sought to defend the coronavirus restrictions against suggestions that the law was confusing and hard to follow. She said: 'The rules are actually very simple and clear. We are meant to stay at home and only leave home for a very, very limited number of reasons'.

What were those reasons? A list followed, including: 'outdoor recreation but in a very, very restricted and limited way, staying local, I’ve said that several times over the last week.' Except, outdoor recreation was specifically deleted as a deemed reasonable excuse to leave home by the regulatory amendments bringing into effect the national lockdown. Presumably the Home Secretary meant outdoor exercise (an exception retained in the regulations).

Anyone can make a mistake — it just seems unfortunate to make one in a press conference designed to clarify, rather than confuse, the rules that the public are expected to follow.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to