Boris Johnson faces furious backlash over father's Greek trip

Fury grows at Stanley Johnson’s jaunt to Greece: PM faces furious backlash after his father disobeyed lockdown rules for trip to mountain-top villa

  • Stanley Johnson posted images on Instagram about his trip to Athens 
  • Johnson, 79, bypassed Greece’s ban on UK flights by routing through Bulgaria
  • Rivals claimed there is one rule for Conservatives and another for the public 
  • Number 10 said the government guidelines were ‘advice for individuals’  

The Prime Minister faced a furious backlash yesterday after his father flew to his Greek villa in brazen defiance of pandemic travel warnings.

The Mail yesterday revealed that Stanley Johnson, 79, jetted to his four-bed home – ignoring Foreign Office guidance which says no one should travel unless it is essential.

The former Tory Euro-MP dodged Greece’s ban on direct flights from the UK by flying from Luton to Athens via Bulgaria, sharing videos and images of his journey on Instagram.

Stanley Johnson posted a selfie on his Instagram feed during his trip to Greece on Wednesday

Mr Johnson travelled to his mountain retreat in Pelion, outside Athens, pictured, where he claimed he was making it Covid secure ahead of the letting season for holiday makers 

Mr Johnson flew via Sofia, Bulgaria to avoid Greece’s ban on direct flights from the UK

Speaking from his mountain-view villa in Pelion – which he lets out to tourists – Mr Johnson said Greek officials were happy to allow him in and the ban only seemed to apply to ‘bulk arrivals’ of British holidaymakers. MPs said the incident ‘stinks of one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us’ and claimed it echoed No 10 aide Dominic Cummings’ infamous lockdown trip to Barnard Castle.

More than 400,000 sunseekers are thought to have had their Greek holidays ruined by government delays in relaxing the global travel warning, along with Greece’s decision to ban direct flights from the UK until July 15.

During the lockdown, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said foreign summer holidays are effectively cancelled following the Foreign Office travel warning. As a Greek news website branded Stanley Johnson’s trip ‘unbelievable’, MPs urged Boris Johnson to explain why his father appears to be bound by a ‘different set of rules’ to those imposed on ordinary holidaymakers.

Labour’s aviation spokesman Mike Kane said: ‘The Government have been all over the place with their plans for a quarantine or air bridges, but what is clear is that the guidance is against any foreign travel at the moment.’

Speaking in the Commons, Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael said: ‘This is simply further evidence that when it comes to following the rules, it is one rule for the Conservatives and one rule for everyone else. Whilst the Prime Minister is continuing to ask people to make huge sacrifices… he must reflect on how much of a kick in the teeth these reports will be.’

Labour’s Rosena Allin-Khan, a shadow minister and A&E doctor, wrote on Twitter: ‘Most people have been following the guidelines and socially distancing – not everyone will get a holiday this year.

‘Those closest to the Prime Minister have different rules though.’ Fellow Labour MP Kate Osborne added: ‘They’re laughing directly in the face of people up and down this country. Shame.’

Mr Johnson, pictured with a friend, would not comment when approached yesterday 

Liberal Democrat Jamie Stone said the incident ‘stinks of one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us’.

The Foreign Office currently advises British nationals ‘against all but essential international travel’. It is up to travellers to decide whether their trip is essential.

Mr Johnson said on Wednesday night: ‘I’m in Pelion on essential business trying to Covid-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season. I need to set up distancing measures at the property because they’re taking it very seriously here.’

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘In relation to Foreign Office advice, that is what it is – it is advice. It is for individuals to make judgments themselves.’

Stanley Johnson declined to comment further yesterday.

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