Boris Johnson ‘working from Chequers retreat’ after telling people to get back to office

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in an archive picture. Photograph: Kirsty O'Co

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in an archive picture. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Having told people to make arrangements to return to work this week, Boris Johnson has chosen to get out of the office, and to his countryside retreat.

This week the official advice to work from home was scrapped, and Boris Johnson urged workers to return to their normal routine at the office, as he told people: 'It's very important that people should go back to work if they can now.'

But public transport remained quiet on Monday with the FT reporting footfall in the centre of the capital was only 2% higher than the week before, and 68% down year-on-year.

And the prime minister himself failed to lead by example after the Daily Mail reported he rushed off to his countryside retreat of Chequers at lunchtime on the same day, after working just a few hours in Downing Street.

MORE: Boris Johnson accused of taking 'power naps' lasting up to three hoursHe was spotted exiting Downing Street by the back entrance at 2.15pm after morning meetings.His spokesman insisted it was a normal move for the prime minister to sometimes work from Chequers, and declined to say how long he would be spending there.Last week he told a press briefing that he would be 'working flat out as you can imagine, though I may allow a brief staycation to creep into the agenda if that's possible'.Johnson was criticised for spending time away from Downing Street at the start of the year, taking long weekends and a number of holidays, as the coronavirus crisis hit China.

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He last spent time at the house and 1,000 acre estate in the Chilterns in May as he recovered from the coronavirus after he was hospitalised.

The land was gifted a century ago to whoever holds the office of prime minister as a retreat from the bustle of Downing Street.

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