Political leaders have spoken to the Advertiser about their travel arrangements over the last few months as they urge members of the public to stay at home as much as possible during lockdown.

Though restrictions came down following the end of the second national lockdown in December, and then have been tightened once again over the following month, politicians wanted to reassure the public that everyone is in it together.

Under the current national lockdown, members of the public should not leave home unless they have a reasonable excuse, which include work, volunteering, essential activities and education.

Councillors and MPs from across north Hampshire were contacted by the Advertiser to ask what they’d been up to over the past few months, and here’s what they had to say:

Councillor Phil North, Leader of Test Valley Borough Council

“Over the last few months, a council related trip to Romsey and starting a ‘Walking for the Wounded’ veteran charity walk in Combe just outside my Bourne Valley Ward is personally the furthest that I have travelled – and that’s when the rules were much more relaxed in Tier Two.

“As the infection rates have rocketed due to this new more transmissible Covid variant, I would encourage everyone to ensure they’re exercising safely and within the lockdown rules. While I appreciate that there is no specific distance within the guidance, keeping as close to home as practically possible is the best course of action to take, and we should all use our common sense.

“The easiest way out of the Covid-19 pandemic is to follow the guidelines and help protect our health services whilst the vaccine programme is being rolled out.”

Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire

“Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country and county and it is vitally important that we all follow the rules and stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

"Over November and December, in line with the tiers, I only travelled where strictly necessary - for example in relation to my ministerial duties - and observed social distancing in all my interactions. Like many people, my family and I had to change our Christmas plans when the rules changed on December 20, celebrating with our relatives on Zoom instead. My wife and I are now working from home, alongside our children who are learning remotely, but if the need arises I might have to travel to attend parliament to appear at the despatch box.

"The government has published the list of reasons you can leave your home or area during this lockdown and I urge all Hampshire residents to stay at home and stay local.”

Councillor Rebecca Meyer, Leader of the Andover Independents Party

“Being an immigrant from the middle of nowhere with no kin on this continent I am sure it’s been easier for me compared to those with families nearby for many ways. I enjoy and am used to being just with myself and snowed in for days on end, getting fat and lazying about like a cat. I consider getting my groceries my ‘Big Day Out’ for the week.

“The farthest I’ve travelled is Fleet and I only have one person in my support bubble. I work full time as an essential worker and walk to and from work Monday through Friday as I cannot work from home. On top of being Leader of my party, and being on both Andover Town Council and Test Valley Borough Council. I haven’t a lot of time to travel right now even if I wished to do so.

“As I’m accustomed to -15 Celsius temperatures I am used to hibernating and being a swine in the winter and not celebrating New Years with others. New Years Eve is the most dangerous evening to drive in the United States so I’ve never been big into it. I’d have to say the most excitement I’ve had during November was going through McDonald’s Drive Thru and then going to Fleet Pond.”