AN MP has apologised after sparking fury among shoppers by failing to wear his mask properly while shopping in a busy supermarket.

Mark Francois, Tory MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, was spotted in Asda in Rayleigh on Saturday with his mask hanging under his nose.

Mr Francois has been accused of failing to “lead by example”, but he insists he quickly atoned for his mistake and adjusted his mask.

Despite the easing of lockdown as part of the Government’s roadmap to recovery, masks are still mandatory in supermarkets.


One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, claims Mr Francois failed to re-adjust his mask. The 52-year-old, from Rayleigh, said: “Why should we all play by the rules, when his own Government has been implementing these rules, and he can’t abide by them.

“His whole attitude really annoyed me. He was so arrogant about it.

“He never apologised.

“If he’d have said he was exempt, gave me a reason why it was so low, or just changed it, then the whole argument would have ended there and then.”

Mr Francois has defended his actions and insists he pulled his mask over his nose as soon as it was pointed out.

He said: “When I was queuing at the checkout at Asda at the weekend, the chap behind me pointed out that while I was wearing a mask, it had slipped below my nose, so I corrected it.

“However, he then started swearing in public, so at that point I quietly collected my shopping and left.

“I am sorry if my mask slipped slightly, which I hadn’t realised but I will try and be more careful as we emerge from lockdown, when hopefully we will not need masks for too much longer.”

The resident insisted the MP should be setting an example and following the rules to the letter.

He added: “I’m exempt from wearing a mask, but I wear one to protect others.

“He should be leading by example.”

Rules across England relaxed yesterday, with pubs and restaurants opening for inside dining, and gatherings inside homes are to be permitted once again.