Boris Johnson has been forced to apologise for getting the new lockdown rules for the North East wrong – just hours after another minister admitted not knowing whether friends can meet in pub gardens.
Floundering, the prime minister struggled to explain how restrictions will work, falsely stating that households could still mix indoors in groups of six.
He was quickly forced to take to Twitter to clear up the confusion, claiming to have misspoken and households will not be allowed to mix indoors regardless of numbers.
Johnson’s gaffe came just hours after skills minister Gillian Keegan also appeared to misrepresent the new lockdown rules.
Asked about matters such as local lockdowns and whether government advice on coronavirus was simple enough on BBC Breakfast, Keegan batted the questions away rather than providing any new information.
Louise Minchin, the presenter, asked: “With all those different rules, is this not a confusing picture for people?”
Keegan told her interviewer: “Well, actually, we’ve tried to simplify the rules for people. But you’re quite right.
“If you’d have said a year ago that we would be living under some of the restrictions we are living under now, nobody would’ve believed us.
“This global pandemic has had a massive impact on every part of our lives, but whilst we’re in this situation where we’re learning to live with the virus until we get a vaccine then at the moment it really is hands, face, space.”
‘I can’t clarify that’
Keegan was then asked, on Radio 4, about the new North East lockdown, where new restrictions are coming in this evening.
She was asked: “If households can’t mix even indoors, could you still book an outside table in a restaurant or pub garden?”
She replied: “I’m sorry I can’t clarify that.”
The presenter said: “You don’t know the answer to that question?”
The MP replied: “I am sure they can find out the answer to that question.”
The gobsmacked presenter said: “If you can’t give us the answer to that how do you expect people to keep up to date with the latest rules, when even you as a government minster can’t answer that question?”
Listen to the interview here.