Matt Hancock apologises for breaking social distancing rules in Parliament
17 June 2020, 23:44
Matt Hancock has apologised for a "human mistake" after he was filmed breaking social distancing rules inside the House of Commons.
Footage taken in Parliament shows the Health Secretary placing his arm around a fellow MP as he arrived for Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.
Mr Hancock then stood well within two metres of his colleague while waiting to be seated, despite floor markings to guide MPs as they enter the chamber.
A third MP then appears to the pair's right, and the MP Mr Hancock had placed his arm around steps back, appearing to do so to stay socially distant.
After the incident, Mr Hancock said in a statement: "I'm so sorry for a human mistake on my part.
"Like all of us, I instinctively wanted to reach out to a friend I'd just seen - in this case, for the first time in many weeks. I realised my mistake and corrected myself.
"It shows how hard social distancing can be but it is so important that we all keep trying to do our bit."
Parliament advice on proceedings during the Covid-19 pandemic states the House of Commons' physical proceedings should be socially distanced and "in line with public health guidance".
Guidance from the Department of Health states people should stay two metres apart from anyone outside of their household - rules Mr Hancock has consistently promoted as Health Secretary.
A statement from the Commons authorities said: "The House's priority is to ensure that those on the estate are safe while business is facilitated.
"Concerns about social distancing guidelines not being followed will be taken seriously.
"Everyone on the Parliamentary Estate has a responsibility to adhere to the guidance, and additional staff are on hand to remind people of the rules."