Cabinet minister flouts social distancing rules on first day back at work for MPs

PUBLISHED: 09:55 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:46 01 September 2020

Cabinet minister Ben Wallace arrives in Downing Street ignoring social distancing rules. Photograph: Sky.

Cabinet minister Ben Wallace arrives in Downing Street ignoring social distancing rules. Photograph: Sky.

Archant

The defence secretary Ben Wallace has been spotted ignoring social distancing rules as he arrived in Downing Street for a meeting with the prime minister.

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Ministers were heading to the Foreign Office this morning for the first meeting since recess as they reassemble to discuss key government matters with Boris Johnson.

The Cabinet Room is not big enough to house all of those in government with the current social distancing rules, so there was a change in venue.

But it appeared Wallace only thought the rules applied inside the room, as he continued to shake hands as he walked towards the building.

“This is Ben Wallace going to do a socially-distanced meeting and he shakes hands,” reported an unimpressed Sky News presenter Kay Burley.


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Political correspondent Joe Pike continued: “That certainly doesn’t set a good precedence, that’s not the sign the government wants us to all think of on day one, especially when they’re encouraging people to return to work and return in a Covid safe way.

“With this one metre plus rule, that you can work close to colleagues, but you’re being very careful with hand-washing, with social distancing. That clearly wasn’t happening when the defence secretary arrived in Downing Street.”

“It’s not a good look on day one of the term”.

Viewers were equally unimpressed by the footage as it circulated on social media.

Nicola Cookson wrote: “Do as we say not as we do. Can just picture that slogan on a red bus”.

“Herd Immunity in the cabinet then...” said Chris Liddle.

“It’s alright he is remaining within the Westminster bubble,” quipped Gary Heron.

“Yeah but he is a Tory though... different rules mate!”, noted another.

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