Carrie Johnson 'Regrets' Hugging Friend During COVID Lockdown After Photo Surfaces
14:06 GMT 16.01.2022 (Updated: 14:28 GMT 16.01.2022)
© AP Photo / Matt DunhamFILE -In this Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds wave from the steps of number 10 Downing Street in London.
© AP Photo / Matt Dunham
Boris Johnson's popularity has been eroded by a drip-drip feed of leaks revealing Christmas office quizzes, springtime wine soirees and staff leaving parties at 10 Downing Street during the government-imposed lockdowns.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's wife has expressed "regret" after media published a photo of her hugging a friend during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Sunday Telegraph splashed with a photo of Johnson with her friend Anna Pinder at The Conduit private member's club in London's Covent Garden on September 17 2020.
Pinder, head of food at west London-based meal kit retailer Gousto, was celebrating her engagement that night. In the image from Pinder's Instagram account, Johnson has her arm around her friend and one leg draped over hers on a sofa on the club's roof terrace.
The number of coronavirus cases was rising at that time towards the UK's second wave, and the 'rule of six' for social gatherings was in place. Just eight days earlier on September 9 the PM had cautioned the public to "keep your distance from anyone you don't live with".
"Mrs Johnson was one of a group of six seated outside celebrating a friend’s engagement," a spokesman for the PM's wife said on Saturday. "Mrs Johnson regrets the momentary lapse in judgment in briefly hugging her friend for a photograph."
16 January, 05:58 GMT
Public reaction on social media was mixed.
The picture is the latest embarrassment for the Conservative government, following a photo of Johnson presiding virtually over a 10 Downing Street office Christmas quiz in December 2020, during the second lockdown.
A subsequent leaked pic showed him and staff enjoying glasses of wine in the garden on an afternoon in May 2020, during the first lockdown.
Other claims have been made that farewell parties were held for those leaving the PM's office while Johnson was away at the prime-ministerial country residence Chequers, and that he allowed "wine-time Fridays" for staff to unwind at the end of the week.