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Brandon Lewis defends being spotted without a mask during trip in chauffer-driven government car

Brandon Lewis outside Downing Street - Credit: PA / Stefan Rousseau

Brandon Lewis has been forced to explain himself after being pictured travelling in his ministerial car without a face mask.

Downing Street has told ministers that they must cover up when travelling in government vehicles, despite a loophole in the rules for chauffer-driven cars.

A source close to the minister said he had removed his mask to drink a cup of coffee in the car.

Passengers in taxis and private hire cars are required to wear masks – with fines of £200 for flouting the rules.

The fines, which reduce to £100 if paid within 14 days, can stretch to £6,400 for repeated breaches.

This comes just over a week after Matt Hancock was snapped not wearing a mask while travelling to the Department of Health and Social Care in a ministerial car, despite repeatedly asking members of the public to cover up.

The health minister was then filmed recording a message in Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on Tuesday without a mask, which is in breach of government guidelines.

A source close to the Health Secretary said he was “filmed in a socially distanced way” during the hospital clip and that he “wore a mask for the rest of the visit”.

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