Defence secretary Ben Wallace shakes hands with man before socially distanced cabinet meeting | The Independent

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Defence secretary Ben Wallace shakes hands with man before socially distanced cabinet meeting | The Independent

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The defence secretary has been pictured shaking hands with a man before a socially distanced meeting of Boris Johnson’s cabinet.

Ben Wallace apparently flouted coronavirus guidance on his way to the meeting on Monday morning.

The meeting – the first since MPs returned from the summer recess – was being held at the Foreign Office because there is more space for ministers to maintain social distancing than at Downing Street.

Mr Wallace was filmed smiling and greeting an unidentified man with a handshake before walking into the building.

Government guidance states people should always maintain social distancing around people they do not live with unless they have formed a social bubble.

The prime minister was expected to stress at the cabinet meeting that he wanted the UK to “get back to more normality”.

Government scientists said earlier this year that ministers should discourage the public from shaking hands to reduce to risk of spreading Covid-19. But on the day the scientific advisory committee made the recommendation, Mr Johnson said he had shaken hands with “everybody” on a visit to a hospital with coronavirus patients.

“I can tell you that I’m shaking hands continuously,” he told a Downing Street press conference.

The Ministry of Defence has been approached for comment.

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