Covid: Boris Johnson accused of hypocrisy over bike ride at Olympic Park in east London

Boris Johnson, himself a keen cyclist, wants to encourage the public to get on their bikes.

Boris Johnson has been accused of hypocrisy following reports the prime minister went cycling seven miles from his home after imposing sweeping Covid restrictions on others.

Mr Johnson was seen at the Olympic Park in east London on Sunday afternoon cycling with members of his security detail, it has been claimed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock sidestepped a question referencing the controversy at a Downing Street coronavirus press conference on Monday.

Official regulations brought in by Mr Johnson say that exercise is limited to once a day and you should not leave your local area, in a bid to halt the surge in coronavirus cases.

A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment on the matter when asked about it at a Westminster briefing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during the latest Downing Street briefing. Credit: PA

London Evening Standard journalist Sophia Sleigh tweeted she believed she had seen the prime minister in the park.

Labour MP for Hammersmith in west London Andy Slaughter condemned the Prime Minister.

Mr Slaughter said: "Once again it is do as I say not as I do from the Prime Minister.

"London has some of the highest infection rates in the country. Boris Johnson should be leading by example."

The prime minister wore a Transport for London (TfL) hat and a face mask during the cycle, reports said.

Asked about Covid restrictions at the Number 10 press briefing, Mr Hancock was pressed on whether people should exercise seven miles from their home - thought to be a reference to the reports concerning Mr Johnson.

The Health Secretary said: "Yes, you can go and exercise in the park with one other person, but only one other person.

"And we have been seeing large groups and that is not acceptable. And you should be two metres apart from the other person.

"If there are too many people breaking this rule then we are going to have to look at it.

"But, I don’t want to do that because, for many people being able to go for a walk with a friend, that often is their only social contact."

Mr Hancock added: "It is OK to go for a walk with one other person around a park, but you should stay two metres apart from that other person.

“And, likewise, it is OK, if you went for a long walk and ended up seven miles away from home, that is OK.

“But, you should stay local, you should not go from one side of a country to another, potentially taking the virus with you.”

The comments came after a Downing Street spokesman was unable to tell a Westminster briefing whether it was against the regulations to sit on a park bench on your own, or not.

The confusion over coronavirus rules comes after two women had their fines rescinded by Derbyshire Police.

The women were originally fined £200 for meeting for what they thought was a socially-distanced walk five miles from their homes. They say they have now accepted the force’s apology and are pleased to "draw a line under this event".

The two women were hit with a £200 fine for what they thought was a local, socially-distanced walk Credit: BPM Media

One of the women, Jessica Allen, said in a statement: "This afternoon we both received a phone call from Derbyshire Police.

"After reviewing our case, our fines have been rescinded and we have received an apology on behalf of the constabulary for the treatment we received.

"We welcomed this apology and we are pleased to draw a line under this event."

The government was engulfed in controversy last year when Mr Johnson’s then chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, was accused of breaking lockdown rules – a claim Mr Cummings denied.