Jewish head of EHRC apologises for breaching Covid rules by travelling to Wales
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Jewish head of EHRC apologises for breaching Covid rules by travelling to Wales

Rebecca Hilsenrath says sorry after being ordered home by police on Christmas Day, following a journey from Elstree

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The Jewish head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has apologised after she breached Covid rules by travelling from Elstree to her second home in Wales for Christmas.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, who co-founded Yavneh College in Borehamwood and Hertsmere Jewish Primary School in Radlett, was ordered home by police in Wales on Christmas Day after her visit was reported by locals.

On 4 December, the Welsh government said: “Travel into Wales is not allowed without a reasonable excuse, for example travelling for work purposes. Visiting family and friends (other than as part of an extended household) or having a holiday is not currently considered a reasonable excuse.”

The legal edict remained in-place when Hilsenrath was reported to have travelled to her second home in the village of Llanegryn for Christmas on or around 18 December. The arrival of officers on 25 December prompted her to say sorry and claim ignorance.

“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,” she said. “I travelled to our home in Wales before lockdown in the belief it was allowed under the rules.”

A qualified and experienced government lawyer, she added that she “did not realise that lockdown necessitated or even permitted our departure” from their primary residence in Hertfordshire.

EHRC chair Baroness Kishwer Falkner left open the option of disciplinary proceedings, saying: “I will establish all the facts before deciding if any further action is required.”

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