Grant Shapps slapped down after saying Brits should 'only shop once a week'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps speaking to the media on College Green in Westminster, London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)

The government has been forced to clarify a statement by transport secretary Grant Shapps who said people should only go food shopping once a week during the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Shapps told people to "try and shop just once a week – just do the essentials, not everything else" in a message which has now been discredited by the government.

No.10 confirmed Grant Shapps went beyond official guidance and said it does not exist either in official government guidance or in the law.

Government guidance says to go shopping for essentials "as infrequently as possible" but does not set a limit on the number of visits.

People have been asked to use their common sense since the law currently also sets no limit on the number of times they can go shopping for "basic necessities".

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Army and private contractors turn ExCel Centre into field hospital
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Army and private contractors turn ExCel Centre into field hospital
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens during a visit to the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens during a visit to the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH A hospital bed and respirator at the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens applauds NHS staff during a visit to the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH NHS staff and contractors working at the ExCel centre, London receive applause from NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Stevens. The exhibition centre is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH A hospital bed and respirator at the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens during a visit to the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
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Boris Johnson's official spokesman was forced to clarify the situation on Tuesday after people raised fears for the vulnerable, elderly or large families that cannot do a weekly shop without a car.

Some police forces have been accused of heavy-handed tactics in enforcing the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government.

Shapps acknowledged there had been "teething problems" but said people should follow the rules.

"People know the rules that have been set, try and shop just once a week," he told the BBC, "Just do the essentials, not everything else."

Shapps said there had been "one or two instances" of police being overzealous with enforcement measures but forces were generally being "sensible".

He said: "I think the police are doing a difficult job.

"There will be one or two instances where they have perhaps not approached it in the right way but in general, actually, across the country not only are people complying very well but, generally speaking, the police are taking a very sensible approach to it."

The transport secretary also said people should not be getting into cars to drive to the countryside to take their daily exercise.

"The simple thing is, if at all possible, please take exercise close to your home," he told the BBC.

"I've got dogs and, rather than put them in the car and drive somewhere with them, it's about stepping out of the house and walking them around the block, or whatever it requires."

However, the government guidance differs from what has actually been made law.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 for England, which were enacted on Thursday giving police powers to enforce rules with fines and even arrests, says: "During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse."

A reasonable excuse includes to buy food and exercise.

The legislation does not specify – or limit – how many times per day someone can leave their house. Neither does it forbid people from using cars or any other vehicle in any circumstance.

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Pictures of the week: March 29 - April 4
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Pictures of the week: March 29 - April 4
Artist Rachel List with her mural supporting the NHS on the side of Horse Vaults pub in Pontefract, Yorkshire, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Janet Woodcock holds a social distance dancing event with the residents of Springbourne in Frodsham, Cheshire as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Photo taken at 10:56am of medical staff at an NHS drive through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility in an IKEA car park, Wembley as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Local resident Alex Girdwood working on her plot at Mudchute Allotments on the Isle of Dogs, east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Ambulances outside the Harrogate Convention Centre that is being converted to take up to 500 patients from Yorkshire and the north-east of England, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
ROMFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Fallow deer from Dagnam Park rest and graze on the grass outside homes on a housing estate in Harold Hill, near Romford on April 02, 2020 in Romford, England. The semi-urban deer are a regular sight in the area around the park but as the roads have become quieter due to the nationwide lockdown, the deer have staked a claim on new territories in the vicinity. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
A London Ambulance worker wearing PPE cleans an ambulance after a patient is brought into St Thomas' Hospital in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Jack Tucker, 7, places his rainbow in the window of a house in Bedminster, Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A coronavirus notice in a shop doorway in Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A temporary mortuary which being built in Manor Flats in the Manor Park area of Newham in east London as the number of deaths from Covid-19 in the UK surpassed two thousand.
A solo skater exercises in a makeshift skate park on a derelict car wash site in Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A cyclist passes street art in Stokes Croft, Bristol, as the UK enters the second week of lockdown due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
London ambulances line a street in Westminster, London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Customers observing social distancing in the queue for a supermarket in Westminster, London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Sid Lovatt with his 3D printed protective mask that he has been supplying to front-line workers, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past an open shop in St Pauls, Bristol, as the UK enters the second week of lockdown due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
A Taylor Wimpey housing development in Telford where building work has ceased as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Sold out delivery spots as the ASDA website is pictured on a laptop as Supermarket websites are overwhelmed by online orders during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A paramedic wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) exits an ambulance outside St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A food parcel and notecard prepared for those less fortunate in Cheltenham as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People using the towpath along the River Lea beside Hackney Marshes, in east London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Clementine Sage(L) and Lucy Paterson perform Muay Thai in Kevingrove Park in Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A motorist wearing a face mask drives through the streets of Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A COVID-19 sign instructing walkers to observe a 2 metre gap on Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People walk along the beach in Broadstairs, Kent, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People walk down Market Street, Manchester as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman runs past closed kiosks in Scarborough as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Roads are deserted in Bournemouth as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A message left by an eight year old girl on a beach groyne in Whitstable, Kent, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An empty stretch of the M5 motorway in Strensham, Worcestershire as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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