Stanley Johnson apologies after he was pictured shopping without a face covering

Boris Johnson has made it clear that his father should have followed coronavirus restrictions after he was seen shopping without a face covering.

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 2:54 pm

Stanley Johnson apologised after he was pictured in the Mirror newspaper perusing the shelves at a newsagents in west London on Tuesday, seemingly in breach of the regulations.

The picture emerged after fines increased to £200 last week for first-time offenders who fail to wear a face covering in accordance with Government guidance.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson senior had acknowledged his “error” and that it would be for the police to determine whether he should face any further action.

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Stanley Johnson, father of Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The spokesman said the Prime Minister had made clear the rules – which were designed to curb the spread of the disease from person to person – applied to everyone.

“You have heard the Prime Minister’s father apologise for his mistake,” the spokesman said.

“He recognises his error and fully understands that it is vital for everyone to abide by the rules on face coverings and social-distancing.

“It will always be for the police to take decisions in individual cases. That is how our system works.

“The Prime Minister is clear that the rules apply to everyone and everybody needs to follow them.

“We have set out very clearly what the consequences may be if you don’t do so.”

Speaking to the Mirror, Stanley Johnson said he may not have been “100% up to speed” with current rules as he had just returned to England after three weeks abroad.

“I’m extremely sorry for the slip-up and I would urge absolutely everybody to do everything they can to make sure they do follow the rules about masks and social distancing,” he said.

“The fact this was my first day back in the UK after three weeks abroad is, I am sure, no excuse for not knowing the rules.”

The Prime Minister has previously been deeply reluctant to criticise his father publicly over earlier apparent breaches of the coronavirus guidelines.

In July he steadfastly refused to comment after his father reportedly circumvented Greek travel restrictions to visit his villa in the country at a time when the Foreign Office was still advising against all non-essential travel.

Mr Johnson senior also admitted breaking lockdown rules when he went out to buy a newspaper after his grandchild was born in April, stating he was “not sure it’s an essential journey”, and indicated in March that he would ignore the Government’s advice and go to the pub.

In other news, Jeremy Corbyn should be fined following reports he breached the “rule of six” limit on social gatherings, a shadow minister has said.

According to the Sun newspaper, the former Labour leader attended a dinner with eight other people, breaking one of the tight restrictions in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

New laws prohibiting social gatherings of more than six people came into effect on September 14, with police now able to disperse any such gatherings and fine individuals £200 for a first offence.

The newspaper, which claimed the dinner party took place on September 26, said Mr Corbyn had apologised.