Matt Hancock accused of BREAKING government’s 10PM curfew in Commons bar
MATT Hancock has been accused of flouting the government’s 10pm hospitality curfew.
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A senior Tory MP told the Mail on Sunday the Health Secretary had remained in a Commons bar until ‘at least 10.25pm’ on one occasion earlier this week, the paper claimed.’ A spokesman for Mr Hancock strongly denied the allegation.
Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a mandatory curfew on all pubs and bars in England.
He said: “Together with all hospitality venues, they should close at 10PM.”
The Prime Minister added: “We must stop the virus being transmitted in bars and restaurants”.
A spokesman for Mr Hancock denied any laws were broken
In addition, Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has reportedly said all venues in the Commons must also abide by the rules.
A spokesman for Mr Hancock denied the secretary had broken any rules.
They claimed Mr Hancock “was in the Smoking Room prior to the vote”.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, centre, has reportedly said all Commons venues must abide by the bar curfew as well
The spokesman said Mr Hancock left the bar in order to attend the vote.
They added: “The Secretary of State then departed the Parliamentary estate to go home.”
The spokesman reportedly did not respond when asked whether Mr Hancock had returned to the bar after the vote and before going home.
A spokesman for Mr Hancock said the secretary went home after a parlimentary vote on the evening he allegedly stayed at the bar
However before the vote the Health Secretary reportedly made a joke that appeared to be a jab at technical failures by Public Health England.
According to the Mail on Sunday Mr Hancock said: “The drinks are on me, but Public Health England are in charge of payment methodology so I will not be paying anything.”
This week, it was revealed Public Health England failed to report almost 16,000 cases of coronavirus in its daily figures between the dates of September 25 and October 2.
The missing data is also thought to have disrupted the test and trace system, meaning some people who had come into close contact with individuals with positive cases were not informed by PHE.
Under rules announced last month, all hospitality venues across the UK have to close at 10pm
The technical error was due poor use of the Microsoft Excel software which meant computers were not able to store as much data as the software usually allows.
Authorities within Parliament have said MPs may not purchase any alcohol after 10pm, even though Commons bars were initially thought to be exempt because they were classed as “workplace canteens,” The Times said.
Meanwhile, the government is facing opposition from regional mayors in the north of England as new, stricter rules to limit the spread of coronavirus are expected to be announced on Monday.
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