Photo emerges of Rachel Johnson on a train while NOT wearing a mask

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A picture has today emerged of Boris Johnson‘s sister Rachel Johnson sleeping on a train without a face mask, just hours after she launched an ardent defence of the Prime Minister over ‘partygate’.

The LBC presenter, 56, was spotted maskless while travelling on a train between London and Exeter on January 10.  

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Under laws in England, set by her own brother’s Government, those travelling on public transport must wear masks.  

And journalist Mrs Johnson has previously spoken out about those not wearing masks, saying: ‘I wear masks when I have to’.

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One anonymous onlooker who saw maskless Mrs Johnson said: ‘She didn’t wear one on the journey – and there was no sign of one by her belongings.’ 

The pictures emerged just hours after Mrs Johnson used her LBC slot to defend the Prime Minister over the ‘partygate’ row enveloping Downing Street.

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She said her brother had been ‘completely compliant’ with Covid rules when she had seen him during the pandemic.

And she backed the Conservative leader’s much-ridiculed claim that he didn’t realise he was at a party when aides held a bring-your-own-booze (BYOB) event in the garden of Number 10.

Photo emerges of Rachel Johnson on a train while NOT wearing a mask
Photo emerges of Rachel Johnson on a train while NOT wearing a mask
Photo emerges of Rachel Johnson on a train while NOT wearing a mask
The LBC presenter, 56, was spotted maskless while travelling on a train between London and Exeter on January 10 Boris Johnson (pictured running this morning) is believed to have been grilled by top civil servant Sue Gray, who could deliver her report on the bewildering array of allegations about lockdown breaches in Whitehall within days The pictures emerged just hours after Mrs Johnson used her LBC slot (pictured) to defend the Prime Minister over the ‘partygate’ row enveloping Downing Street

Mrs Johnson’s Covid rule breach comes more than a year after she herself slammed Britons for not wearing masks in indoor spaces.

Current rules, introduced on December 10 under the Government’s Plan B measures, mean face coverings are required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, including taxis.

Some people, including children under 11, are exempt from having to wear face coverings in any setting.

And anyone with a health condition or disability, which means they cannot wear a face covering, is also exempt from having to wear a face mask.

But it does not appear that Mrs Johnson is exempt, having previously explained that she does wear a mask in indoor spaces.

What are the current rules on masks on public transport?

Under current Government rules in England, face coverings are required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, including taxis.

The new rules were announced on December 10, as part of the Government’s Plan B strategy to curb the spread of Omicron.

Some people, including children under 11, are exempt from having to wear face coverings in any setting. 

And anyone with a health condition or disability, which means they cannot wear a face covering, has a reasonable excuse for not wearing a face covering. 

These rules apply to England only and can be enforced by police and community support officers, as well as Transport of London (TfL), who have enforcement powers, including issuing fixed penalties of £200 for the first offence (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days).

Repeat offenders receiving penalties for breaching the requirements to wear face coverings will have their penalty doubled for each subsequent offence, up to a maximum of £6,400. 

Transport operators can also deny access to their public transport services, or direct someone to wear a face covering or to leave a service, if not wearing one without a legitimate reason.  

Local authority enforcement officers can also use their enforcement powers against businesses for failing to display appropriate signage or breaching the prohibition against preventing someone from wearing a face covering. 

 

Speaking previously on her LBC show in October 2020, Ms Johnson said: ‘I’m Rachel Johnson, I’m a Johnson, I know how to wear masks, I wear masks when I have to wear a mask.

‘Why is it so hard to wear a mask in a supermarket?’ 

Replying to a caller saying lots of people were saying they were ‘exempt’, she replied: ‘They can’t all be exempt.’

The photograph emerged just hours after Mrs Johnson had used her Sunday LBC slot to defend her brother amid accusations of hypocrisy over alleged Covid breaches at Number 10. 

Speaking on her LBC show Mrs Johnson said on LBC last night: ‘I didn’t see much of the Prime Minister and his family during lockdown, but the times I did see him, he was completely compliant: he dotted every i, he crossed every t.

‘If it was rule of six, there were six. And what I didn’t see were all the things you’ve been reading about.

‘If he did go out into the garden – and he’s told us he did – for him, that would have been work.

‘For example, at his birthday, it was me, my three brothers, Carrie and Wilf. That was six people. And I have to tell you something about my brother’s character.

‘You’ve been seeing the front pages which couldn’t have been worse: suitcases of booze going into Downing Street from the Co-op.

‘I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that he has never once turned to me or any member of my family and said, ”I tell you what, let’s have an office party”. Or, ”I tell you what, let’s have a party”.

‘If anything, he would say: ”Let’s play reading”, when we were growing up, or even in our twenties, or: ”Let’s play, who can memorise the most poems from the Oxford book of verse”. And, of course, it was always him.’

She added: ‘Look, I’m just telling you what I saw over lockdown and what I know of my brother’s character.

‘And, to my mind, if he did go out into the Downing Street garden – and he’s told us he did – for him, that would have been work.

‘He may have had a drink, I don’t know. Is that one of the key questions? But that would have been work.’

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Mrs Johnson for comment, but have so far not received a response. 

It comes as Downing Street was last night accused of rolling out a series of policies to take the attention off the PM over’ partygate’.

There were reports of plans to launch ‘red meat’ policies, including putting the military in charge of preventing small boats from crossing the Channel.

But Education Secretary Mr Zahawi told BBC Breakfast: ‘Honestly, I don’t recognise that at all.’ He added: ‘Government doesn’t operate like that.’

But over the weekend Nadine Dorries said the next announcement about the BBC licence fee ‘will be the last’, reopening the debate over the corporation’s future.

And Priti Patel is reportedly set to announce in weeks the Navy will spearhead ‘pushback’ tactics to turn away boats carrying migrants across the Channel.

Other touted policy announcements as part of Mr Johnson’s attempted fightback include attempts to reduce the NHS backlog and a push on the Levelling Up White Paper.

But Mr Zahawi said the policies are ‘on the list because these are the Government’s manifesto’.

Speaking on Sky News, he said it would be a ‘good idea’ to have a ‘single command and control’ to tackle Channel crossings.

‘And that includes not just naval vessels but all other vessels, including Border Force, so that you actually have a co-ordinated operation in terms of the small boats,’ he said.

He said the Government wants to ‘go after the illegal smugglers who are putting these people’s lives at risk’.

But when told those are not the ones on the boats, he added: ‘Well, they’re the ones we want.’

Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Let’s not pretend that this is anything other than it is, which is a pretty obvious dead cat strategy from the Government to distract from the totally disastrous leadership context that the Prime Minister is facing at the moment.’

Mr Zahawi insisted Mr Johnson will stay in post after further allegations of parties emerged. 

Photo emerges of Rachel Johnson on a train while NOT wearing a mask
© Provided by Daily Mail Mr Johnson is believed to be preparing a cull of his inner circle. Martin Reynolds, his principal private secretary (pictured above) who sent an email inviting staff to ‘bring your own booze’ in the No 10 garden during the first lockdown, and chief-of-staff Dan Rosenfield, are among those seen at risk

Operation Red Meat: Boris’s attempt to take back control 

‘Operation Red Meat’ is expected to include:

Asked three times on Today whether the Prime Minister is safe, he said: ‘Yes, he is, because he’s human and we make mistakes.

‘And, actually, he came to the despatch box and apologised and said he will absolutely submit himself to Parliament, because that’s our parliamentary democracy.’

It comes as the Mirror said Mr Johnson attended a leaving do before Christmas 2020 during which he gave a speech to mark the departure of his defence adviser, Captain Steve Higham.

The claim is the latest in a long line of allegations about rule-breaking in Downing Street, with senior official Sue Gray looking into a litany of possible events, including a ‘bring your own booze’ garden party during the first coronavirus lockdown that Mr Johnson has admitted he attended – although he insists he understood it to be a ‘work event’.

Reports suggested Mr Johnson had now been questioned by Ms Gray.

And Mr Zahawi said she must be allowed to carry out her inquiry into reports of coronavirus restriction-breaching events in Westminster after the Prime Minister had ‘submitted himself to that investigation’.

Mr Zahawi said he shares the anger of the public over the issue, adding: ‘I can absolutely say to you that the Prime Minister feels the pain.’

He said: ‘All I would say is we have to allow the investigation to take place. Why? Because that’s the fair thing to do – you don’t condemn a man without a thorough investigation.’

Six Tory MPs have now publicly called for Mr Johnson to resign due to the saga.

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) became the latest on Saturday, citing the ‘terminal damage’ the revelations have done to his reputation.

Others, such as former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, said it is for Ms Gray to determine what Mr Johnson knew about possible lockdown breaches in No 10, while newer MPs suggested the affair raises questions about the ‘moral authority’ at the top of Government.

West Dorset MP Chris Loder, who was elected in 2019, told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: ‘I’m not going to call for anyone’s resignation until I’ve seen the facts, but then real action is required, and then we shall go from there.’

Andrew Bowie, Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said he will wait to read the conclusions of the investigation but admitted there is ‘a lot of ill-feeling out there and discomfort’ on the Tory benches.

For a Tory leadership contest to be triggered, 54 letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson have to be submitted by MPs to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, asking for a vote on his future.

Sir Graham does not publicly state how many letters he has received, but reports suggest about 20 might have been handed in.

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