The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, have apologised for separate breaches of coronavirus restrictions.
Corbyn was pictured with his wife, Laura Alvarez, at a dinner party for nine people, breaching the rule that only six people can meet indoors or outdoors. The penalty for the breach is a £200 fine.
He told the Sun, which published the photo: “I recently had dinner at a friend’s house where the number of guests eventually exceeded five. I understand that remaining at the dinner was a breach of the rule of six. I apologise for my mistake.”
Separately, Stanley Johnsonexpressed regret for breaching the rules on face masks after he was pictured in the Daily Mirror browsing in a newsagent without a face covering.
Fines were increased to £200 last week for a first-time offence for failing to wear a face covering in the designated places.
Johnson said he may not be “100% up to speed” with the rules having just returned from three weeks abroad, though wearing a face covering in shops has been compulsory since 24 July.
“I’m extremely sorry for the slip-up and I would urge absolutely everybody to do everything they can to make sure they do follow the rules about masks and social distancing,” he said.
“The fact this was my first day back in the UK after three weeks abroad is, I am sure, no excuse for not knowing the rules.”
Johnson has previously made headlines after travelling to his home in Greece in July, in a breach of Foreign Office guidance at the time to avoid non-essential travel.
On Wednesday Boris Johnson reiterated the need for the public to follow restrictions at a sombre press conference where he confronted critics of his coronavirus strategy, insisting there was “only one way of doing this”.
At a Downing Street press conference alongside the chief medical officer for England, Chris Whitty, and the chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, the prime minister said: “I know that some people will think we should give up, and let the virus take its course, despite the huge loss of life that that would potentially entail.
“I have to say I profoundly disagree. I don’t think it’s what the British people want. They don’t want to throw in the sponge. There is only one way of doing this, and that is by showing the collective forbearance, common sense and willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of others.”
Vallance said of the second wave of the virus: “We don’t have this under control at the moment.”
The latest official data showed 7,108 new cases across the UK, and 71 deaths for the second day in a row. The cases figure was slightly down on the 7,143 reported on Tuesday.
Whitty said hospital and intensive care admission rates were “definitely heading the wrong way”, and pointed out that they were moving from younger age groups into the older population.