A MAN has pleaded guilty to assault after England's chief medical officer was accosted in St James's Park in central London.

Professor Chris Whitty was confronted as he passed through the park on June 27.

Lewis Hughes, 24, has pleaded guilty to assault at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The incident was caught on camera, prompting an earlier apology from Hughes.

The man, from Romford in Essex, said if he made England’s chief medical officer feel “uncomfortable”, then “I am sorry to him for that”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those to hit out after a video posted online appeared to show Whitty being harassed.

The video, which lasts around 20 seconds and was filmed in St James’s Park, shows two grinning men grabbing Whitty as they shout “Oi oi” and say “One photo please?”.

As the medical chief attempts to walk away, the men grab him again, while a voice is heard saying “leave the gentleman alone” before the clip ends.

Hughes, an estate agent, said he had lost his job following the incident, telling The Sun: “I absolutely apologise for any upset I caused.

The National: Lewis Hughes, from Romford in Essex, pleaded guilty to assault Lewis Hughes, from Romford in Essex, pleaded guilty to assault

“If I made him feel uncomfortable, which it does look like I did, then I am sorry to him for that.

“He is quite a timid, shy person and I think that is why he didn’t say, ‘Get off me’. If he had said that and I had realised how he felt, I wouldn’t have put my arm round him.”

He said he had been hoping to get a selfie to show to his mother, adding: “There was no malicious intent, I didn’t want to upset him.”

His friend Jonathan Chew, 24, told the newspaper: “We didn’t cause any harm to him. We just wanted a selfie.”

Their behaviour was condemned by the Prime Minister.

He said: “I’m shocked at seeing the despicable harassment of chief medical officer Chris Whitty.

“I condemn the behaviour of these thugs. Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it.”

The chief medical officer has been harassed on several other occasions.

Earlier in June, he was confronted in a street in Oxford by a man accusing him of lying to the public about coronavirus, while in February a man accosted the chief medical officer outside Westminster.