Boris Johnson's bike ride 'didn't break rules', Number 10 insist
UK Government guidance allows daily outdoor exercise, but warns people against travel outside their local area.
After initially refusing to comment, Downing Street have now insisted the trip was within the rules.
The PM’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister acted in accordance with the Covid guidance while he was exercising.
“We have always trusted the public to exercise good judgment throughout the pandemic when we have asked them to exercise locally.”
The spokesman refused to say how far someone can travel to take exercise and sidestepped a question on whether people can drive or take public transport to exercise.
They also declined to answer if the PM had been meeting anyone.
A defence of Mr Johnson was also issued by Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton, who claimed the focus on the trip would not deter Mr Johnson from doing so again.
She said: “He will be doing bike rides again, you all know how much he loves his bike.
“We are encouraging everyone to do exercise daily, it’s really important to keep healthy.
“There is nothing special about the Prime Minister going on a bike ride and nor should there be.
“We are encouraging all members of the public to exercise.”
The incident has been compared to the two women fined £200 by police for driving five miles from their home in Derbyshire to meet for a walk at a reservoir.
The UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock had backed the fine, which has now been dropped, despite later defending the PM for travelling further.
Speaking last night at the Downing Street Press conference, he said: “It is OK to go if you went for a long walk and ended up seven miles from home, that is OK, but you should stay local.”
Downing Street’s defence of the PM came on the same day he warned the pandemic has reached a "pivotal stage".
Speaking to Cabinet, Mr Johnson said: "The Prime Minister made clear that he believes that while vaccination is our way out of the pandemic, we cannot take our foot off the pedal.”
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.