The Speaker
Monday, 20 May 2024 – 22:07

PM criticised following North East Coronavirus restrictions confusion gaffe

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been facing significant criticism after appearing confused by restrictions set by his own Government.

#borishasfailedtheuk was trending at multiple different levels on Twitter’s United Kingdom Trends on Tuesday evening, while earlier in the day the PM had been accused by Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner as being “grossly incompetent”.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson was questioned about the new COVID-19 restrictions coming into force in parts of North East England from 00:01 on Wednesday. In the areas impacted by the measures, inter-household mixing will be banned in all indoor venues and private gardens.

However, speaking during a news conference in Exeter, the PM incorrectly said that the rule-of-six restriction on gatherings does not apply when meeting people outdoors;

“In the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities.

“It’s six in a home or six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside.”

This goes against the official government restrictions, which state that gatherings of more than six people in outdoor settings is illegal.

The PM later apologised in a tweet, saying ‘Apologies, I misspoke today’.

Earlier on Tuesday, it had been unclear whether people in the North East would be allowed to meet in outdoor hospitality settings, but a government minister was unable to explain the new restrictions when asked by the BBC.

It has since been confirmed that it will not be illegal to mix with other households in outdoor hospitality settings in groups of no more than 6 people, however, the Government is advising against it.

There are now many different variations of Coronavirus restrictions in effect in different parts of the UK, making restrictions difficult to keep track of and remember. The Prime Minister’s gaffe on Tuesday has led many to believe that even he is confused by the rules in place. 

Several of the UK’s newspaper front pages for Wednesday feature the gaffe, including The Daily Mirror which is leading with the headline of ‘Boris: The Fool of Six’ and ‘..And you thought YOU were confused’.

The Metro’s main headline is ‘Sorry, The PM Hasn’t A Clue’ while the Daily Telegraph is leading with ‘Confusion over rules quickens Tory revolt’.

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