Sadiq Khan says the Government should make the wearing of face coverings in shops mandatory 'immediately', rather than in ten days.

The London Mayor, who has been pressing for the policy change since June, said there is no reason for ministers to wait until July 24, when anyone failing to comply could face a £100 fine.

The move follows a weekend of confusion over whether ministers intended to make face coverings compulsory after Boris Johnson said they were looking at "stricter" rules.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I am pleased the Government have finally listened - not just to me - but to the clear overwhelming expert scientific advice from the World Health Organisation, Royal Society, British Medical Association and others, who have echoed my calls for face coverings to be mandatory in enclosed and busy public places such as shops.

“It’s a disgrace that there’s been days of mixed messages and confused communications from ministers.

"Time and time again this government have been slow to act and unclear in their advice and as a result the public’s health that’s been placed at risk as a result.

"We can’t afford to wait another day and the Government should bring this policy in immediately – further delay risks lives.”

The move will bring England into line with Scotland, where face coverings are already mandatory in shops.

The Government has been urging people to wear face coverings in confined spaces such as shops since early May and they have already been made compulsory on public transport in England since mid-June.

The regulations will be made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, with a maximum fine of £100 - reduced to £50 if it is paid within 14 days.

Enforcement of the regulations will be the responsibility of the police.

While shop workers will be asked to encourage compliance, retailers and businesses will not be expected to enforce them.

As is the case on public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.