Boris Johnson cancels visit to vaccine centre as relative tests positive for Covid

Boris Johnson has cancelled a planned visit to Lancashire after a member of his family tested positive for Covid, Downing Street has said.

The prime minister had been scheduled to visit a vaccination centre, where we would have been expected to face his first media questions about his attendance at a social event in the No 10 garden during the first lockdown in May 2020.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The prime minister will no longer be visiting Lancashire today due to a family member testing positive for coronavirus. He will follow the guidance for vaccinated close contacts, including daily testing and limiting contact with others.”

Under current rules, if someone is vaccinated, as Johnson is, they no longer need to self-isolate even if a family member has Covid.

However, government guidance says they are “strongly advised” to take daily tests, and to “limit close contact with other people outside your household”.

Johnson usually films a brief, pooled broadcast interview on such visit, and would inevitably have faced questions both about the alleged party and about calls for him to resign from some of his MPs after he admitted attending it.

In a statement before prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, Johnson accepted for the first time that he had been at the 20 May 2020 gathering and that this was a mistake, while also attempting to defend his actions.

Saying the No 10 garden was at the time routinely used as “an extension of the office”, Johnson argued that he had believed the event was a work gathering, and that the event “could be said, technically, to fall within the guidance”.

While the prime minister and a series of cabinet ministers said people should now wait for an inquiry into the 20 May event and other alleged lockdown parties, being led by the senior civil servant Sue Gray, Johnson has faced calls to quit now.

After Johnson’s statement, one of the Conservatives’ most senior backbenchers, William Wragg, and Douglas Ross, the leader of the party in Scotland, publicly called for Johnson to resign, saying his position had become untenable.

Later on Wednesday, the former minister Caroline Nokes added her voice to those calling for his resignation. Speaking to ITV’s Peston, she said Johnson was in an “impossible position”.

There was silence for much of the day from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, the two people tipped as most likely to succeed Johnson. Explaining that he had been “on a visit all day”, Sunak gave a lukewarm response on Twitter on Wednesday evening, saying Johnson was “right to apologise and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray carries out her enquiry”.

Just over an hour later, Truss tweeted that she stood behind Johnson 100%.


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