As the possibility for tougher coronavirus lockdown restrictions grows with rising infection rates across the UK, Boris Johnson is facing backlash after he was spotted cycling in a park seven miles form Downing Street over the weekend.
During a Downing Street press conference on Monday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock was asked whether it is permissible to exercise seven miles from home.
Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith, west London, criticised the prime minister for having a "do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do" attitude.
He was echoed by some netizens who reacted to the news by posting tweets, in which they berated the British prime minister for "hypocrisy".
"We already have strong safeguards in place, including a requirement for mandatory 10-day self-isolation for the vast majority of arrivals and our Travel Corridors system remains critical in managing the risk of imported cases from high-risk countries. Boris Johnson should be leading by example".
The Prime Minister wore a Transport for London (TfL) hat and a face mask during the cycle, reports said.
The Evening Standard also quoted an unnamed source as confirming that Johnson was exercising and "did note how busy the park was and he commented on it at the meeting last night". "If you're [.] genuinely taking exercise and not going out for other objective social purposes, then that seems perfectly reasonable", he pointed out, referring to Johnson's alleged bike ride as a once a day exercise.
"Both globally and domestically we are seeing significant increases in levels of coronavirus, including the emergence of worrying new strains", he said. And you should be two metres apart from the other person.
"We are trying to strike a balance between maintaining compliance with the rules and elements of public consent to what's happening".
"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 long walk or cycle ride or exercise - but stay local'.
"And, likewise, it is OK, if you went for a long walk and ended up seven miles away from home, that is OK.
And what we're asking people to do is when they exercise to stay local, now local is obviously open to interpretation but people broadly know what local means".