UK minister says local bike rides allowed after PM Johnson cycles across London

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a virtual news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain January 7, 2021. Tolga Akmen/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s policing minister Kit Malthouse said local cycle trips were acceptable under COVID-19 lockdown restrictions after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was criticised for riding to the Olympic Park in east London from Downing Street, a seven-mile trip.

Asked if longer cycling trips were within the rules, Malthouse told Sky News: “Yes. And what we’re asking people to do is when they exercise to stay local, now local is obviously open to interpretation but people broadly know what local means.”

“If you’re (...) genuinely taking exercise and not going out for other purpose social purposes, then that seems perfectly reasonable.”

London’s Evening Standard newspaper reported the prime minister had been spotted in the Olympic Park in East London on Sunday.

Reporting by Sarah Young and Paul Sandle, editing by Estelle Shirbon