No 10 refuses to say whether Boris Johnson will start wearing one – despite Sajid Javid’s recommendation
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, bowed to pressure for Conservative MPs to change their much-criticised stance – as he warned of tougher Covid restrictions if the public’s behaviour does not change.
But, just hours later, Mr Rees-Mogg told MPs: “The advice on crowded spaces is crowded spaces with people that you don’t know – we on this side know each other.”
The Commons Leader suggested MPs from other parties did not like “mixing”, adding: “We one this side have a more convivial, fraternal spirit – and are therefore following the guidance of Her Majesty’s Government.”
The comments came as Downing Street refused to say whether Boris Johnson would follow his own health secretary’s advice by wearing a face covering.
No 10 was blindsided by Mr Javid’s shift, at Wednesday’s press conference – given the health secretary has previously declined to wear a mask himself.
Faced with accusations of hypocrisy – after urging the public to wear masks in crowded spaces – Mr Javid conceded: “I think that’s a very fair point.”
But, ducking the question of whether Mr Johnson would wear them, his spokesman echoed Mr Rees-Mogg in telling journalists: “It remains the case that it’s a matter of personal judgment for all individuals on wearing a mask.
“We have very clear guidance which sets out that people are recommended to wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet.”