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PM's dad criticised for flying to Greece during pandemic

Sky News logo Sky News 02/07/2020 Alan McGuinness, political reporter
Stanley Johnson in a suit and tie sitting at a table: Boris Johnson and his father Stanley in 2018 © PA Boris Johnson and his father Stanley in 2018


The prime minister's father has been criticised for flying to Greece during the coronavirus pandemic.

Government advice currently urges Britons against all but essential international travel.

But Boris Johnson's 79-year-old father Stanley arrived in Athens on Wednesday to visit his mountain villa.

Video: Stanley Johnson flies to Greece despite travel restrictions (The Independent)

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He shared a video on Instagram of his plane landing.

Mr Johnson also posted a picture of himself wearing a face mask, which appeared to have been taken in an airport.

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The PM's spokesman said the Foreign Office advice on international travel remains in place, but said: "It is for individuals to make the judgements themselves."

According to the Daily Mail, he flew to Athens via Bulgaria because the Greek government has banned direct flights from the UK until the middle of July.

Mr Johnson told the newspaper he was visiting the country on "essential business trying to COVID-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season".

He added: "I need to set up distancing measures at the property because they're taking it very seriously here.


LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: Stanley Johnson, father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is seen on March 04, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images) © 2020 Getty Images LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: Stanley Johnson, father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is seen on March 04, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)


"The Greeks are trying to stop bulk arrivals from the UK but they were quite happy to have me coming in.

"All they wanted to know was where I was coming from and what I was doing. Then I had my temperature taken and was swabbed twice."

The PM's father said air bridges had to be established "as soon as possible", saying: "From what I've seen the arrival of the British will not be a danger to the Greeks because they're so careful here."

Mr Johnson's trip has caused anger among MPs, amid claims it shows "it is one rule for the Conservatives and one rule for everyone else".

Labour's shadow minister for mental health Rosena Allin-Khan said: "Most people have been following the guidelines and socially distancing - not everyone will get a holiday this year.

Gallery: Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak around the UK (Photo Services)


"Those closest to the prime minister have different rules though."

Labour MP Kate Osborne said: "Dominic Cummings broke the lockdown rules now it's @BorisJohnson's father.

"One rule for the elite and another for everyone else it seems.

"They're laughing directly in the face of people up and down this country. Shame."

Neil Coyle, another Labour MP, told the Press Association: "(Mr Johnson) has ignored government advice and he has also entered Greece through a secondary route, so I imagine the Greek authorities will be interested in how he has got there and what he is doing to ensure he's not spreading anything.

"The government has taken away rights to travel for all of us, but (the PM's) own family is not affected."

Alistair Carmichael, a Liberal Democrat MP, said: "This is simply further evidence that when it comes to following the rules, it is one rule for the Conservatives and one rule for everyone else.

"Whilst the prime minister is continuing to ask people to make huge sacrifices, especially the people of Leicester, he must reflect on how much of a kick in the teeth these reports will be."

Stay at home as much as possible to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In ​​​​​​​ Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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