The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, have both apologised for separate breaches of coronavirus restrictions.
Jeremy Corbyn was pictured with his wife, Laura Alvarez, at a dinner party to remember the late Occupy Wall Street founder David Graeber.
But there were a total of nine people attending, a picture was taken at the dinner in memory of their friend and activist David Graeber showing the Corbyns and six others in addition to the person taking the photograph.
This did breach the rule that only six people can meet indoors or outdoors. The penalty for the breach is a £200 fine.
Jeremy Corbyn explained to the Sun, which published the photo: “I recently had dinner at a friend’s house where the number of guests eventually exceeded five. I understand that remaining at the dinner was a breach of the rule of six. I apologise for my mistake.”
Separately, Stanley Johnson expressed regret for breaching the rules on face masks after he was pictured in the Daily Mirror browsing in a newsagent without a face covering.
Johnson said he may not be “100% up to speed” with the rules having just returned from three weeks abroad, though wearing a face-covering in shops has been compulsory since 24 July.
“I’m extremely sorry for the slip-up and I would urge absolutely everybody to do everything they can to make sure they do follow the rules about masks and social distancing,” he said.
“The fact this was my first day back in the UK after three weeks abroad is, I am sure, no excuse for not knowing the rules.”
Johnson has previously made headlines after travelling to his home in Greece in July, in a breach of Foreign Office guidance at the time to avoid non-essential travel.
Anyone would think that this is where the story ends, in Corbyn’s case it was his first so-called breach and any right-thinking person would agree the apology and his own embarrassment at the situation would be enough. However, not for some, Labour frontbenches, they feel an example needs to be made.
Labour frontbencher demand Corbyn should be punished.
Where both these breaches are deserving of an apology and public condemnation, it seems a little excessive to demand Jeremy Corbyn should be hauled up in front of a magistrate and be fined.
Shadow mental health minister Rosena Allin-Khan said Jeremy Corbyn should be made to pay a fine after he was caught breaching the government’s ‘rule of six’ coronavirus restrictions, a Labour frontbencher has said.
Shadow mental health minister said her former party leader’s actions were “inexcusable” after The Sun revealed he was pictured at a dinner party with eight other people present.
Although Mr Corbyn did apologise for the breach and said he understood “remaining at the dinner” was a mistake the frontbencher stated “I’m disappointed,” she told Sky News. “I’m glad Jeremy Corbyn has apologised. It is absolutely inexcusable to break the rules, the rules apply to everyone.
“He rightly should be paying a fine, everybody should be fined that breaks the rules.”
The former deputy leadership hopeful said the behaviour of Boris Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings, who was accused of breaking lockdown rules in May, and the PM’s father Stanley Johnson, caught shopping without a mask, was also unacceptable.
“Unfortunately people like Dominic Cummings don’t seem to have taken responsibility and we have also Boris Johnson’s own father walking in a shop without a mask. We all have a responsibility to adhere to the rules,” she said.
Not one Tory MP has called for either Corbyn or Johnson to be fined
The irony here is that former cabinet minister and health select committee chair Jeremy Hunt said he did not think Mr Corbyn should face a financial penalty.
“The first time round [breaking the rules] we should just be a little bit British, show some common sense. I’m sure he won’t do it again, he has apologised,” he said.
“My instinct is to show a little bit of lenience.”