Robert Jenrick is facing criticism for moving his family to a £1.1 million country manor during the coronavirus outbreak, despite government advice urging people not to escape to second homes.
The cabinet minister, who recently flouted lockdown rules by visiting his parents, has charged taxpayers more than £100,000 for the home that he appears to use only rarely.
He left his £2.5m London house to move to a 17th-century grade I listed country house in Herefordshire amid the coronavirus crisis.
A spokesman for Jenrick said his wife and children moved there before the lockdown, but Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has said such journeys were not “necessary”.
According to reports in The Times, neighbours say he is rarely at the Herefordshire property and builders are a “regular fixture” there.
One described the claim that it was his family home as “codswallop”.
“Insult to constituents enduring lockdown in small flats”
Tory MPs reacted in fury this weekend.
One backbencher said: “Jenrick’s position was already pretty dire, to be honest.
“But to go on the radio and claim you understand what it’s like to be cooped up is an insult to my constituents who are enduring the lockdown in small flats.
“Whether his family were already in that country pile of his or still in his London home, he can’t possibly say that. He really has to go.”
Another Tory MP said: “This really is stretching the definition of cooped up to farcical levels.”