Coughing MP admits travelling 250 miles by train while displaying coronavirus symptoms

Telegraph reporters
Darlington MP Peter Gibson admits travelling 250 mile by train while displaying coronavirus symptoms

An MP has admitted travelling 250 miles by train while displaying coronavirus symptoms, after being told to self isolate. 

Darlington MP Peter Gibson, part of the 2019 intake of so-called Red Wall Tories, said after developing a cough, he travelled 250 miles by train from the capital to the North East of England prior to lockdown to isolate at home.

When he was asked why he had not stayed in London, he replied: "It was several weeks before lockdown and at the time I had no London address."

Mr Gibson explained he was staying in a spare room of someone else's flat and did not have a permanent London base.

He later told the Northern Echo newspaper he began coughing on March 11 and called the MP's coronavirus helpline.

"I was advised if my normal mode of transport was the train I should use that but should isolate and keep myself to myself, which is what I did," he told the newspaper.

"I came home and self-isolated in my house, away from other members of the household, eating alone, using a separate bathroom. I did that for seven days."

Mr Gibson also said admitting leaving the house during the time he was symptomatic to walk his dog.

"After that I re-integrated myself into the household. I didn’t go anywhere other than walking the dog, alone, while isolating.”

He said his self-isolation lasted seven days and his illness was “short-lived”.

Mr Gibson conceded that some people might believe he should have stayed in London but added: "Was I meant to move into a hotel? Was I supposed to go back to the flat of another MP when I had nothing apart from a couple of changes of clothes?

"Did I run the risk of potentially infecting the friend whose flat it was?"

Mr Gibson initially made the admission on social media while discussing Dominic Cummings's trip to Durham.

He initially called for an inquiry into Mr Cummings's conduct but following the special aide's press conference on Monday, Mr Gibson said he had adequately explained his behaviour.