Sajid Javid appeared to shun his own advice oncrowded and enclosed settings today after he defended MPs for not wearing masks in parliament.
Government guidance, in place since July, states that people are “expected and recommended” to continue wearing a face covering when in close contact with large groups of people indoors.
Yet Tory MPs have largely ignored the guidance when sitting in the closely-packed Commons chamber.
That’s prompted a complaint from unions representing Parliament staff, who urged the Speaker to intervene.
And yesterday Downing Street released images of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet meeting with no masks or social distancing inside No10.
Today Mr Javid defended the images, despite the fact his own Covid Winter Plan recommends face coverings in “crowded and enclosed settings”.
Confronted with the photo of the Cabinet meeting he claimed: “That is perfectly consistent with what the Prime Minister said yesterday and what I said yesterday.
“What we said was people should consider wearing masks in crowded places when they are with strangers, when they are with people they are not normally spending time with.”
“They are not strangers”
Asked about Tory MPs in Parliament, he replied: “They are not strangers.
“Conservative back benchers whether they’re in Parliament, in the chamber itself, in the meeting rooms and things…”
Sky News’ presenter retorted “you don’t catch Covid from friends?”, to which Mr Javid replied: “It’s not… You have to take measures that are appropriate for the prevalence of Covid at the time.
Asked if politicians should be setting an example, he said: “Of course people are influenced by others, but every individual should make the decision based on the advice they are given and the situation they find themselves in at at the time.”
Mr Javid later insisted “there are circumstance where people should consider wearing masks” but added: “It’s not just one particular measure, masks for example and that’s it. It’s a suite of measures.”