By Pippa Crerar and Matthew Young |Mirror|
Stanley Johnson has followed in son Boris’s footsteps by not knowing the coronavirus rules – as he was caught red-handed without a mask while shopping.
The PM’s dad said he was “extremely sorry” for failing to cover his face at a newsagents in West London on Tuesday.
Asked by the Mirror during the televised press briefing what his message was for people not wearing masks in shops, Boris Johnson urged the public to comply, adding: “Bear in mind that the fines are now very considerable and they will be imposed.”
Stanley admitted to the Mirror he was “maybe not 100% up to speed” on the rules, having just returned from being abroad.
“I was maybe not 100% up to speed but that was my first day back in England after three weeks not in England,” he said.
“So they (the rules) may have changed in that time. I’m not really a big shopping man.
“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.
“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.”
Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England became compulsory on July 24, and it had been advised since mid May.
Fines for breaching the rules were initially £100 for first time offenders but that was increased to £200 last week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in July wearing a mask would “give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops”.
Stanley’s blooper occurred on the same day the PM got lockdown rules in the North East confused during a visit in Exeter.
He later tweeted correcting his blunder.
Stanley, 80, told the Mirror: “I was picked up by a black cab around midday, and I was probably masked in the taxi.
“I asked the taxi driver to stop at a shop so I could pick up a copy of The Times.
“I had business at the Langham Hotel, doing an interview.
“I was whisked from one part of London to another and it’s true the taxi driver offered to pick up the paper for me but I said I would do it.
“I ran out the car and picked up the paper and if that’s the case (that I didn’t have a mask on in the shop) then I hold my hands up and I plead guilty.”
Shop worker Naeem Chujhta said: “Everybody coming into the shop has to wear a mask, but he wasn’t.
“I knew it was him – he looks exactly the same as Boris.”
Masked Kamar Hill, 19, said outside the shop in Maida Vale: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone like him not wearing a mask – because they run the show.
“They get to do what they like while the rest of us do everything to go by the rules.”
Steve Landrum, 42, from Paddington, said: “There’s lads at work who aren’t always wearing them and they should be – but the Prime Minister’s dad?
Surely he’s got to do better than that.”
Asked by the Mirror at the press briefing about those flouting mask rules in shops and on transport, the PM said:
“Please follow the guidance and bear in mind that you’re doing it not just to protect your neighbour but ultimately somebody that you transmit the disease to could end up infecting someone that you love.
“It’s absolutely crucial that we stop the spread of this disease.
“Wear a mask on transport in the way that is recommended and bear in mind that the fines are now very considerable and they will be imposed.”