Boris Johnson apologises saying he 'misspoke' when asked to clarify North East England Covid rules

Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologised after he "misspoke" on new Covid rules in North-East England.When asked by reporters to clarify whether people could meet in a pub garden, an issue one of his ministers admitted she did not know, Mr Johnson said: "In the North East and other areas where extra-tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities but it is six in a home, six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside."

Mr Johnson later tweeted: "Apologies, I misspoke today.

"In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home.

"You should also avoid socialising with other households outside. "

He added: "This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities."

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner claimed Mr Johnson did not understand the new regulations, set to put a ban on households mixing in private and also social settings, in Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and Co Durham.

Ms Rayner had earlier said: "For the Prime Minister to not understand his own rules is grossly incompetent.

ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke has more:

"These new restrictions are due to come into force across huge parts of the country tonight. "The government needs to get a grip."

Earlier, both the PM's official spokesman and the education minister Gillian Keegan struggled to explain the new rules announced on Monday evening.

What are the rules for the North-East?

Ms Keegan, when asked to clarity the situation in the North East, said: “I’m sorry I can’t answer that question.

"I’m sure there are many people who could. I don’t represent the North East.”

She added that she was "sure" people in the affected areas could "find out the answer".

What do those living under the new rules make of them?

And, Downing Street further muddied the waters.

The PM's spokesman admitted the Department of Health was still "setting out the full details” of the measures that were announced on Monday night.