'One rule for them and another for us.' PM accused of hypocrisy over bumper G7 BBQ

14 June 2021, 09:03 | Updated: 14 June 2021, 20:25

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Downing Street has defended the hosting of a beach barbecue for G7 leaders, insisting the event was held in a Covid-secure way.

Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and other world leaders gathered on a beach in Carbis Bay on Saturday evening for an informal gathering.

The group could be seen enjoying a few drinks alongside dinner and taking in the impressive Red Arrows flypast, but those involved did not appear to be socially distanced and could be seen rubbing shoulders with one another, sparking accusations of hypocrisy.

The G7 beach BBQ has drawn criticism for hypocrisy after over 30 people were seen gathering
The G7 beach BBQ has drawn criticism for hypocrisy after over 30 people were seen gathering. Picture: No10/Flickr

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told LBC this morning it looks like: "One rule for them and one rule for the rest of us".

No10 has been forced to deny the meal on Saturday breached Covid rules, which allow 30 people to gather together outside.

But on LBC this morning Nick Ferrari furiously accused the group over the "outrageous" display. "You try and have a gathering in your back garden, or indeed your front garden for that matter and you'll get done.

"It's well ventilated in my back garden but I know I couldn't have more than 30 peope. How dare they."

Nick questioned Health Minister Ed Argar about the barbecue this morning. Mr Argar was asked: "How come they [the 38 to 40 people there] can break the rules?" by Nick.

Mr Argar said: "I wasn't there."

Nick responded: "How come they can disrespect the rules but I can't?"

"I haven't seen the pictures in my papers this morning," said Mr Argar.

"My personal view is that everyone sticks to the rules."

The criticism comes ahead of a press conference later today where Boris Johnson is set to announce whether the full June 21 ending of lockdown in England can go ahead.

However, most coronavirus restrictions on meeting people outdoors in England have been lifted, with the exception of such gatherings being limited to 30 people at most.

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The government's official advice says: "You should continue to minimise the number of people you meet within a short period of time to limit the risk of spreading coronavirus."

It adds: "If you are meeting friends and family, you can make a personal choice on whether to keep your distance from them, but you should still be cautious."

If people break the rules, the police can take action, such as breaking up gatherings or issuing fines - up to a maximum of £6,400.

Those who hold an illegal gathering of more than 50 people outdoors could face a £10,000 fine.

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Speaking after the G7 beach barbecue, No 10 said there were fewer than 30 guests, the event was outside and all participants in the summit have a daily testing regime.

"The event last night was done in an entirely Covid-secure way within the existing rules," the prime minister's official spokesman said.

"This was an informal gathering of the G7 leaders and rightly it is held in private... but you can see it was a relaxed atmosphere and gave the leaders a chance to discuss outside of a formal setting."

Their dinner was cooked by Simon Stallard, from the Hidden Hut in Portscatho, and included beef, lobster and other local fish, while sea shanty group Du Hag Owr provided the musical entertainment.