EASTLEIGH MP Paul Holmes has sparked angry backlash from residents after posting a non-socially distanced picture when the pubs reopened on Saturday July 4.

Pubs, restaurants and bars all began to reopen their doors last weekend after more than three months of closure because of the coronavirus lockdown, but government guidance has been very clear that strict rules on social distancing must be followed at all times with people outside of your household.

But during a visit to the Botley Brewery to celebrate its reopening on July 4, Paul Holmes posted a picture on Twitter, showing him sat outside with a pint, directly next to someone who is not in his household.

This sparked outrage from residents, who claim this is another example of it being one rule for members of government, and another for everyone else.

One resident said: "Are there different distancing rules for Conservative MPs and their staff? Just asking as I can meet with my grandchildren but still have to exercise socially distanced and can't hug them."

While another asked the Eastleigh MP to clarify if he lives with or is in a bubble with the woman in the photo, as otherwise he is "breaking social distancing and by posting on Twitter, showing to others that it's okay to do so".

In response to the backlash from residents, Paul Holmes has said that he maintained social distancing throughout his visit and moved closer together for a "short period of time" while taking a photo.

He said: "On Saturday I had a number of engagements with a member of my staff and we maintained social distancing throughout the whole day. When taking a photo we moved closer together. This was for a very short period but it was a mistake and I apologise."