Rory Stewart pokes holes through Rishi Sunak’s face mask photo on Twitter

PUBLISHED: 16:49 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:02 15 July 2020

Chanellor Rishi Sunak pictured with his face mask leaving a Pret store; Twitter

Chanellor Rishi Sunak pictured with his face mask leaving a Pret store; Twitter

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A former Tory MP has highlighted a huge flaw in a post by Rishi Sunak on his official Twitter account.

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Rory Stewart pointed out that a face mask used in a picture of the chancellor leaving a Pret a Manger store was not up to government standards.

Sunak tweeted a photo of himself wearing a face covering with an exhalation value while leaving the fast food chain, writing: “Making the most of @Pret’s price cut in response to the VAT reduction that takes effect today for the tourism and hospitality sectors.”

But Stewart, a former London mayor contender who dropped out from the race for City Hall because of the coronavirus, pointed out a glaring problem with Sunak’s face covering.

“A little guidance maybe needed on mask types,” he posted in response to Twitter thread.

“The key point of masks is to protect OTHERS from your own breathing - many masks of this type have exhalation valves - @WhichUK argues these are to be avoided because they don’t protect others,” he posted alongside a link to the Which? article.

MORE: Rory Stewart ‘proven right’ as video re-emerges of him claiming PM was making wrong judgements on coronavirus

Jules Mattsson - a freelance journalist - wrote: “Why do the govt keep showing valved masks as a good face covering when they literally have a valve letting your expired air right through?”

The Guardian’s political editor Heather Stewart made fun of an earlier picture showing the chancellor next to a £180 ‘smart mug’.

“Don’t tell me,” she posted. “Rishi’s mask is bluetooth-enabled, keeps his face at exactly the right temperature, cost £200 and was a present from his wife.”

Alexander Brown, a political correspondent at The Sun said: “This is all getting a bit influencer.”

@AmigoNewsUK pointed another flaw in the chancellor’s post: “Bit of a cock-up there @RishiSunak?

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“As chancellor you should know that VAT is not charged on takeaway food. It is only charged if eaten on the premises.”

Which? has advised that valued masks exhale “unfiltered particles” and will not “protect others”.

“These are designed to filter out pollution for road and city commuters, and are usually made from a fabric such as neoprene,” their advice goes.

“They are close fitting and have in-built filters (which need to be changed regularly) and valves for easier breathing. They tend to be thicker and bulkier than masks for general use, and are generally more expensive (around £25-£30).

“The exhalation valve means they won’t protect others, as you can still exhale unfiltered particles, so they aren’t really suitable.”

The government has made wearing masks compulsory in shops and supermarkets across England from July 24 onward.

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