Boris Johnson has made it clear that his father should have followed coronavirus restrictions after he was seen shopping without a face covering.
Stanley Johnson apologised after he was pictured in the Mirror newspaper perusing the shelves at a newsagents in west London on Tuesday, seemingly in breach of the regulations.
The picture emerged after fines increased to £200 last week for first-time offenders who fail to wear a face-covering in accordance with UK government guidance.
The British prime minister’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson senior had acknowledged his “error” and that it would be for the police to determine whether he should face any further action.
The spokesman said Boris Johnson had made clear the rules – which were designed to curb the spread of the disease from person to person – applied to everyone.
“You have heard the Prime Minister’s father apologise for his mistake,” the spokesman said.
“He recognises his error and fully understands that it is vital for everyone to abide by the rules on face coverings and social-distancing.
“It will always be for the police to take decisions in individual cases. That is how our system works.
“The Prime Minister is clear that the rules apply to everyone and everybody needs to follow them.
“We have set out very clearly what the consequences may be if you don’t do so.”
Speaking to the Mirror, Stanley Johnson said he may not have been “100% up to speed” with current rules as he had just returned to England after three weeks abroad.
“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.”
Prime Minister Johnson has previously been deeply reluctant to criticise his father publicly over earlier apparent breaches of the coronavirus guidelines.
In July he steadfastly refused to comment after his father reportedly circumvented Greek travel restrictions to visit his villa in the country at a time when the UK Foreign Office was still advising against all non-essential travel.
Mr Johnson senior also admitted breaking lockdown rules when he went out to buy a newspaper after his grandchild was born in April, stating he was “not sure it’s an essential journey”, and indicated in March that he would ignore the British government’s advice and go to the pub.