Stanley Johnson admitted he “slipped up” but insisted he was unaware that the rules about face coverings – which must cover the nose and mouth – also applies when standing on the platform. He was photographed wearing the mask incorrectly at a Bakerloo line station on Monday.
After being informed that wearing a mask that covered both the nose and mouth was required in all areas of the London Underground, Mr Johnson told the PA news agency it was “only my third day back in London, adding: “I’m learning every day.”
Last week, the prime minister’s father was photographed without a mask in a shop despite his son’s government imposing a law making their use mandatory.
Mr Johnson’s latest rule-breaking act was noticed shortly after he posted a picture on Instagram of himself, pensions secretary Therese Coffey and Tory MP John Penrose with the caption: “Masks firmly in place on the Jubilee Line.”
He said of the incident: “I have certainly been absolutely wearing a mask on the Underground trains and public transport and so on. I don’t notice that everybody wears masks on the platform.
“I have certainly got my mask on the platform, I agree it is below my nose. This has been a fast learning curve for me and I’m certainly grateful for the vigilance of my fellow travellers.
“Thanks to all of you for sending photographs of me every time I appear in public,” he added. “I am really taking a huge, huge… I’m taking this very seriously.”
The prime minister’s official spokesperson said he did not know if Boris had spoken to his father about the latest incident, but coronavirus rules should be followed by everyone.
“I know the prime minister’s father has set out that he recognises his error and fully understands it’s vital for everyone to abide by the rules on face coverings and social distancing,” said the spokesperson.
“As I said last week, the prime minister is very clear that everyone needs to follow the guidance on hands, face, space – the rules apply to all of us.”
Asked if Mr Johnson should be handed a fine for breaching the rules, he said: “It’s not for me to advise the police in relation to individual cases, that’s not how it works in this country.”
The fine for breaking the rule on masks is £200, and doubles for each breach up to a maximum of £6,400.
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