The father of UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Stanly came under fire on Thursday after British media revealed that the 70-year-old ignored instructions of the Foreign Office and the Greek authorities and traveled to Pilion where he has a villa.
Stanley Johnson flew from London to Sofia in Bulgaria and from there to Athens on Wednesday night.
He said he is in Pelion on “essential business trying to Covid-proof my property.”
Furthermore, he boasted of his trip in a pair of Instagram posts showing his plane coming in over Athens.
“A flagrant disregard of his own son’s ‘essential travel only’ rules,” write among others dailymail.
The former Tory MEP had flown via the Bulgarian capital Sofia because the Greek government has banned direct flights from the UK until July 15.
Speaking from the balcony of his villa in northern Greece last night, Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m in Pelion on essential business trying to Covid-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season.
“I need to set up distancing measures at the property because they’re taking it very seriously here.
The Greeks are trying to stop bulk arrivals from the UK but they were quite happy to have me coming in,” he said.
‘All they wanted to know where I was coming from and what I was doing. Then I had my temperature taken and was swabbed twice.
He urged his son, Boris to “get these air bridges set up as soon as possible. From what I’ve seen the arrival of the British will not be a danger to the Greeks because they’re so careful here.’
The four-bed villa in Pelion has a pool and terraces with views of the mountains and the sea. The beach is only a five-minute walk through an olive grove.
The trip triggered an outrage on social media.
Not allowed to fly to Greece with my dad for my grandads funeral because it’s not essential travel, meanwhile @BorisJohnson dad claims that setting up a villa for holidays is essential travel. The @Conservatives disgust me🖕🏼
— Vagelis Georgariou (@vagelisgeo) July 2, 2020
So I’m sitting here trying to work out if I’m okay to go to Wales and see my Mum for the first time since March next week, meanwhile the PM’s Dad jets off to his holiday home in Greece, sneaking in via Bulgaria.. ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?
— Bryn (@BrynLaw) July 2, 2020
My daughter, a marine biologist annually volunteers with a turtle project in Greece. She cannot go. One rule for the rich Conservatives, one for the rest of us. https://t.co/VWdwovrP4R
— Peter Sturdgess (@petersturdgess) July 2, 2020
PM's dad, Stanley Johnson, flew to Greece in violation of their rules as the UK has FAR more Coronavirus cases.
Using your privilege to take the problems our government has made worse in this country and use them to destabilise the rest of Europe. Classic Tories!
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) July 2, 2020
So a private citizen who happens to be the PM’s dad broke no laws in the UK, Bulgaria or Greece and this is a story why…? https://t.co/XztKucu5BJ
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) July 2, 2020
Look, everyone is quick to criticise Stanley Johnson for flying to Greece… but be honest with yourselves. Which one of us can say, hand on heart, that we haven’t got on a plane in these past few months to go and check on our mountain villa?
— Jonathan Pie (@JonathanPieNews) July 2, 2020
I flew to Greece to "covid proof my property"
I drove 30miles to "test my eye sight "
Boris Johnsons family and friends really do take the **** don't they. pic.twitter.com/IrwEdLsPfB
— Dawn Butler MP✊🏾 (@DawnButlerBrent) July 2, 2020
So Stanley Johnson can travel to his second home in Devon, to Bulgaria and to his holiday home on Greece.
Looks like the Johnson family believe that lockdown is totally for others.
— Jon Jones (@JonJonesSnr) July 2, 2020
RT if you hope the authorities in Greece arrest Stanley Johnson for violating their laws. pic.twitter.com/WoWasLrURE
— Pro Democracy! (@ProDemocrats) July 2, 2020
Greek media are not impressed thought, the majority simply reports about the trip with only a few using expressions such as “unbelievable” (iferimerida), “secretely” (zaogora.gr)
On social media, Greek internet users made jokes and urged “those in Pelion to be aware!”
Johnson’s trip shows, of course, that it is possible to travel to Greece or elsewhere via a third country to get around rules designed to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The Foreign Office is advising British nationals against all but essential international travel. Its says there are limited travel options between the UK and Greece and no direct flights.
On June 30, Greece extended the flight ban to/from UK until July 15, 2020.