The Prime Minister had previously denied he broke the rules during a trip to Hexham General Hospital
Boris Johnson has finally said sorry for taking his face mask off in an NHS hospital after days of denying be had broke the rules at all.
The Prime Minister told senior MPs on the Commons’ liaison committee that he had “mistakenly” not been wearing a mask at Hexham General Hospital.
He said “there were barely 30 seconds” when he had no mask on, adding: “I apologise for it.”
Mr Johnson had denied he broke the rules after the visit to the Northumberland hospital at the height of the Tory sleaze scandal earlier this month.
Downing Street had been warned the PM should wear a face mask “in all areas” and Mr Johnson was reminded by health staff to keep it on before he entered the building.
Despite this, the PM took his mask off in a corridor and was immediately told to put it back on and when asked about breaking the rules by reporters had insisted he did not take his mask off “in a clinical area” and had followed guidelines.
“As for not wearing a mask in Hexam hospital, which you wrap up into my general litany of crime, can I just say that actually, there was barely 30 seconds where I wasn’t wearing a mask,” he said.
“I walked out of a room mistakenly not wearing it. I then put it on as soon as I realised I made that mistake.
“I apologise for it, but most pictures of my visit to the hospital will show that I was duly masked throughout the remainder of the visit, and I was masked on the way into the visit.”
It comes after widespread criticism of the incident and the PM being accused of “callous disregard” of the NHS.
Susie Flintham of Covid-19 Families for Justice said: “The PM was putting lives at risk completely unnecessarily by visiting a hospital and refusing to put his mask on, despite being repeatedly asked to.
“For him to make a point of posing for a photo without a mask is a slap in the face to bereaved families.”
The head of the NHS in England, Amanda Pritchard, also said that the guidance on wearing masks in healthcare settings was “clear” and that “people should wear masks in healthcare settings”.
Asked what she thought when she saw images of Prime Minister Boris Johnson without a mask in hospital, she said: “The guidance is clear: people should wear masks in healthcare settings.
“I wasn’t on the visit. So I’m afraid I don’t know the ins and outs of exactly what happened there.”