Boris Johnson’s father was caught shopping without a face mask a week after the PM hit out at ‘brazen rule breakers’ and doubled fines.
Stanley Johnson said he was ‘extremely sorry’ for the slip-up and admitted he had lost track of the current rules after spending three weeks abroad.
The former politician turned celebrity was pictured perusing the shelves at a newsagents in west London on Tuesday, seemingly breaking the rules by not covering his mouth and nose.
Face coverings have been compulsory in shops and public transport since July 24.
Last week fines for first time offenders who fail to wear a face covering increased to £200 as part of a string of measures to control the virus and avoid a second lockdown.
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Speaking to the Mirror, Stanley Johnson said he may not be ‘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.’
Stanley’s rule breach happened on the same day the PM got confused about restrictions in the north-east, forcing him to issue an apology on Twitter.
It comes at a critical point in the UK’s fight against the virus, with Mr Johnson imploring members of the public to follow the guidelines at a press conference on Wednesday.
He repeated warnings that tougher restrictions could be introduced if current measures don’t bring the virus down.
‘Bear in mind that the fines are now very considerable and they will be imposed,’ he said.
The £200 fine also applies to people who break the rule of six.
Speaking in the House of Commons when tighter penalties were announced, Boris Johnson said police and local authorities would be provided with extra funding to enforce the rules and that military support could be drawn in ‘where required to free up the police’.
He said: ‘These rules, these measures will only work if people comply. There is nothing more frustrating for the vast majority who do comply, the law-abiding majority, than the sight of a few brazenly defying the rules.
‘So these rules will be enforced by tighter penalties.’
This is not the first time the Prime Minister’s father has made headlines – in July he defended his decision to travel to Greece in an apparent breach of Foreign Office guidance to avoid non-essential travel.
He 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’.
He also indicated in March that he would ignore the Government’s advice and go to the pub.
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