Northern Ireland news

Arlene Foster says 'everyone equally subject to law' as photo shows Sammy Wilson on London Underground without mask

Sammy Wilson was pictured on the London Underground without a face covering

FIRST Minister Arlene Foster has said "everyone is equally subject to the law" after a photograph emerged of DUP MP Sammy Wilson on the London Underground without a face covering.

The picture, showing Mr Wilson reading a magazine on the train, is thought to have been taken by a fellow passenger yesterday morning.

Masks have been mandatory on public transport in England since June, with failure to comply potentially carrying a fine of £200 for a first offence.

The MP for East Antrim has previously been criticised for comments regarding mask wearing.

In August he posted a photo of himself on Twitter holding an ice-cream without a face covering in a shop in Islandmagee, saying: "Support local business. You can't eat when you're muzzled!"

Asked about yesterday, Mr Wilson said he had taken his mask off temporarily to answer a phone call.

He also questioned why the person who took the picture had not approached him directly.

"I didn't have a mask on, should have had it on and am offering no excuse but it is sad that we have now become like East Germany under the Stasi where members of the public think it is acceptable to act as snoops," he told PA.

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie referenced previous controversy over Michelle O'Neill attendance at the funeral of Bobby Storey, saying: "If we condemn the DFM (Deputy First Minister) for not following the rules and undermining the health message then we must do similar with Sammy Wilson for not following the rules and undermining the health message."

Speaking at Stormont yesterday, Mrs Foster said she has not yet had time to speak to Mr Wilson but he had made a statement.

"But just for clarity, I want to say this as clearly as I can, everyone is subject to the law, everyone is equally subject to the law and equal under the law.

"So it is important that we remember that, and that is the position of the DUP."

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