Boris Johnson ‘Covid hypocrisy’ after London bike ride

Boris Johnson has been accused of hypocrisy by a Labour MP following reports the Prime Minister went cycling seven miles from his home after imposing sweeping Covid restrictions on others.

Mr Johnson was seen at the Olympic Park in east London on Sunday afternoon cycling with members of his security detail, it was claimed.

Official regulations brought in by Mr Johnson say that exercise is limited to once a day and you should not leave your local area, in a bid to halt the surge in coronavirus cases.

“He was leisurely cycling with another guy with a beanie hat and chatting while around four security guys, possibly more, cycled behind them,” a witness told the PA news agency.

“When I realised the person looked like Boris I cycled past them to hear his voice and be sure it’s him. It was definitely Boris.”

“Considering the current situation with Covid I was shocked to see him cycling around looking so care free,” added the woman, who asked not to be named.

“Also considering he’s advising everyone to stay at home and not leave their area, shouldn’t he stay in Westminster and not travel to other boroughs?”

A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment on the matter when asked about it at a Westminster briefing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock sidestepped a question referencing the controversy at a Downing Street coronavirus press conference on Monday.

London Evening Standard journalist Sophia Sleigh also tweeted that she believed she had seen the Prime Minister in the park.

Labour MP for Hammersmith in west London Andy Slaughter condemned the Prime Minister.

Mr Slaughter said: “Once again it is do as I say not as I do from the Prime Minister.

“London has some of the highest infection rates in the country. Boris Johnson should be leading by example.”

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The Prime Minister wore a Transport for London (TfL) hat and a face mask during the cycle, reports said.

Asked about Covid restrictions Mr Hancock was pressed on whether people should exercise seven miles from their home – thought to be a reference to the reports concerning Mr Johnson.

The Health Secretary said: “Yes, you can go and exercise in the park with one other person, but only one other person.

“And we have been seeing large groups and that is not acceptable. And you should be two metres apart from the other person.

“If there are too many people breaking this rule then we are going to have to look at it.

“But, I don’t want to do that because, for many people being able to go for a walk with a friend, that often is their only social contact.

“It is OK to go for a walk with one other person around a park, but you should stay two metres apart from that other person.

“And, likewise, it is OK, if you went for a long walk and ended up seven miles away from home, that is OK.

“But, you should stay local, you should not go from one side of a country to another, potentially taking the virus with you.”

The comments came after a Downing Street spokesman was unable to tell a Westminster briefing whether it was against the regulations to sit on a park bench on your own, or not.

The Government was engulfed in controversy last year when Mr Johnson’s then chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, was accused of breaking lockdown rules – a claim Mr Cummings denied.

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