Boris Johnson has refused to speak about the ‘movements and doings’ of his father Stanley who flew to Greece in a brazen defiance of pandemic travel warnings.
Stanley Johnson, 79, jetted to his four-bed mountain-view home in Pelion this week – ignoring Foreign Office guidance which says no one should travel unless it is essential.
The former Tory Euro-MP dodged Greece’s ban on direct flights from the UK by flying from Luton to Athens via Bulgaria, sharing videos and images of his journey online.
At tonight’s coronavirus press conference, the Prime Minister refused to comment on his father’s movements.
When asked why the public should obey all the rules when his father and top aide Dominic Cummings had not done, he replied: ‘Durham Police made it clear they were not pursuing that.
Boris Johnson has refused to speak about the ‘movements and doings’ of his father Stanley who flew to Greece in a brazen defiance of pandemic travel warnings
‘I make it a normal practice not to comment on the movements and doings of my family.
‘When you look at what the British public have done over the last three months it has been a phenomenal effort to follow the guidance and get this thing under control.
‘People have worked together and done an absolutely heroic job. We have got to keep that going now.’
Stanley Johnson was photographed last night looking at his mobile phone with a glass of red wine on a table while sitting alone at Martha’s restaurant at Horto in Mount Pelion, Greece
Last night, Stanley Johnson was photographed looking at his mobile phone with a glass of red wine on a table while sitting alone at Martha’s restaurant in Horto village.
Mr Johnson also failed to condemn his father’s actions earlier today, telling LBC Radio: ‘I think you really ought to raise that with him. I am not going to get into details of family conversations.
‘I think the overwhelming majority of the British people have understood what needs to be done and have been very prudent, and that is the right thing to do.’
Local residents told Magnesia News that Martha’s is Stanley Johnson’s favourite restaurant in the area – and his dinner included fresh fish, Greek salad and red wine.
The Prime Minister’s father Stanley Johnson was spotted at the tavern in Greece last night
They added that he has otherwise rarely left the villa since arriving in the country this week, and has not been spotted in the village at any other time.
Boris Johnson has also gone to the restaurant when in the village, and chose to visit the area with his now-fiancée Carrie Symonds for New Year’s Eve in 2018.
Speaking from his villa – which he lets out to tourists – Stanley Johnson said Greek officials were happy to allow him in and the ban only seemed to apply to ‘bulk arrivals’ of British holidaymakers.
MPs said the incident ‘stinks of one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us’ and claimed it echoed No 10 aide Dominic Cummings’ infamous lockdown trip to Barnard Castle.
Stanley Johnson posted a selfie on his Instagram feed during his trip to Greece on Wednesday
More than 400,000 sunseekers are thought to have had their Greek holidays ruined by government delays in relaxing the global travel warning, along with Greece’s decision to ban direct flights from the UK until July 15.
During the lockdown, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said foreign summer holidays are effectively cancelled following the Foreign Office travel warning.
Also today, Mr Shapps disclosed that Greece was not on the initial list of countries from which travellers to England would no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Mr Shapps said a decision on whether to add Greece to the list would have to wait until at least July 15 when the government in Athens will decide whether to lift its restrictions on travellers from the UK.
Mr Johnson travelled to his mountain retreat in Pelion, outside Athens, pictured, where he claimed he was making it Covid secure ahead of the letting season for holiday makers
He said that if Mr Johnson senior returned to the UK before that date he would have to self-isolate for a fortnight ‘which he will be happy to do’.
Asked whether is visit to his villa constituted ‘essential business’, Mr Shapps said it was ‘up to an individual to decide’.
‘There is certainly no law against it. This is travel advice,’ he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
‘But what isn’t up to an individual to decide is when they return from that location then they will need to self-isolate, they will need to do that quarantine for 14 days.’
Boris Johnson did not condemn his father today, telling LBC Radio (pictured): ‘I think you really ought to raise that with him. I am not going to get into details of family conversations’
As a Greek news website branded Stanley Johnson’s trip ‘unbelievable’, MPs urged Boris Johnson to explain why his father appears to be bound by a ‘different set of rules’ to those imposed on ordinary holidaymakers.
Labour’s aviation spokesman Mike Kane said: ‘The Government have been all over the place with their plans for a quarantine or air bridges, but what is clear is that the guidance is against any foreign travel at the moment.’
Speaking in the Commons, Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael 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… he must reflect on how much of a kick in the teeth these reports will be.’
Stanley Johnson flew via Sofia, Bulgaria to avoid Greece’s ban on direct flights from the UK
Labour’s Rosena Allin-Khan, a shadow minister and A&E doctor, wrote on Twitter: ‘Most people have been following the guidelines and socially distancing – not everyone will get a holiday this year.
‘Those closest to the Prime Minister have different rules though.’
Fellow Labour MP Kate Osborne added: ‘They’re laughing directly in the face of people up and down this country. Shame.’
Liberal Democrat Jamie Stone said the incident ‘stinks of one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his father Stanley at a book launch in London in 2014
The Foreign Office currently advises British nationals ‘against all but essential international travel’. It is up to travellers to decide whether their trip is essential.
Mr Johnson said on Wednesday night: ‘I’m in Pelion on essential business trying to Covid-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season. I need to set up distancing measures at the property because they’re taking it very seriously here.’
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘In relation to Foreign Office advice, that is what it is – it is advice. It is for individuals to make judgments themselves.’
Stanley Johnson declined to comment further yesterday.