The Prime Minister is facing calls for an investigation into potential social distancing breaches after giving a speech to some 50 Tory backbenchers – despite restrictions on gatherings of more than 30 people.
According to Mirror,Boris Johnson is under fire for reportedly his own breaching social distancing rules by speaking to scores of Tory MPs at a meeting in the House of Commons.
Shortly after Mr Johnson addressed a meeting of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers on Wednesday, his office tweeted a reminder that meetings of more than 30 people are illegal and anyone attending such a gathering could be fined £100.
But despite signs on the doors of the meeting room warning only 29 people were allowed inside to limit the spread of the virus, at least 50 Conservative MPs were said to be crammed into the room.
Some MPs observed social-distancing rules by taking seats that were spaced out, but later arrivals “crammed” together at the back of the room to hear Johnson, three people at the meeting told Bloomberg.
Mr Johnson even told those present that he wanted people to be packed together in the same way by Christmas.
Only 40 minutes later, the Prime Minister’s official Twitter account posted: “Gatherings of more than 30 people are illegal. Breaking the rules could cost you thousands.
“If you attend an illegal gathering, you could be fined £100, increasing on each offence up to £3,200.”
The Liberal Democrats accused the Prime Minister of “hypocrisy” and demanded an investigation on whether rules had been broken.
In a letter to Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, MPs Wera Hobhouse and Wendy Chamberlain said: “We are seeking your assurance that a full investigation will be made into the event and if these reports are true, any evidence of criminal activity will be passed on to the relevant Police Services.
“As you will no doubt be aware, it is currently illegal to meet in gatherings of over 30 – in addition to being against the Parliamentary rules set by the Speaker’s Office.”
They added: “Reports such as those of the 1922 Committee last night undermine faith in the Government and ultimately impact on the effectiveness of Government public health messaging.
“We cannot allow it to look as though there is one rule for Conservative MPs and another for the rest of the country.”
Graham Brady, who chairs the committee, said: “It is a workplace and social distancing of one meter plus was maintained as per government guidance for other workplaces.”