Equality watchdog boss apologises after breaking lockdown rules

Rebecca Hilsenrath, who heads the Equality and Human Rights Commission, returned from her second home in Wales after travel restrictions came into force


The head of an equality watchdog has apologised after breaching lockdown restrictions during a trip to her second home in Wales over the festive period.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, who is Jewish and heads the Equality and Human Rights Commission, travelled to her second residence on 18 December with her husband, Michael.
The chief executive returned to Hertfordshire the following week, on Christmas Day, after speaking to local police.
Ms Hilsenrath  said she had not realised she was breaking lockdown rules.
Wales moved to tighten restrictions shortly after her arrival, bringing the alert level to Tier four restrictions.

 In a statement on 19 December, first minister Mark Drakeford said all those “staying in holiday accommodation in Wales” should leave at the earliest opportunity. 

Authorities announced Hertfordshire would soon be moving into Tier 3 the day prior to her departure.
“I would like to apologise to the local community, where we feel deeply embedded, if I have caused anyone concern or worry at this difficult time. 
“I travelled to our home in Wales before lockdown in the belief it was allowed under the rules at that time. As the situation changed and lockdown was imposed, our family did not join us. 
“We did not realise that lockdown necessitated or even permitted our departure, and after a short and helpful conversation with the local police we agreed at once to leave on Christmas Day and did so without the need for further reminders,” she said. 
EHRC chair Baroness Kishwer Falkner noted Ms Hilsenrath’s apology and said she would “establish all the facts” before determining whether further action is needed.

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