Lockdown confusion as Labour MP visits Lord Kinnock for his birthday
Front garden celebration at parents' Tufnell Park home
30 March, 2020
MP Stephen Kinnock outside his parents’ home in Tufnell Park
LABOUR MP Stephen Kinnock has insisted he did not break lockdown rules after putting seats outside his parents’ home to sit on during a birthday visit.
He was sending greetings to his father, Lord Neil Kinnock, the former leader of the Labour Party, at his home in Tufnell Park.
His social media photos, however, stirred a debate over whether he should be visiting, given people were last week told to stay away from their elderly mothers on Mothering Sunday because of the spread of coronavirus.
Lord Kinnock turned 78 on Saturday and is at home with his wife, Baroness Glenys Kinnock, the former MEP who is 75. Over-70s have been told to take extra precautions.
His son visited with his wife Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former prime minister of Denmark. They described it as a “socially distanced” celebration because of the gap between the outdoor chairs and the doorstep.
South Wales Police, however, felt the fun breached the rules and tweeted directly at him: “We know celebrating your Dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel. We all have our part to play in this, we urge you to comply with government restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe.”
A host of social media users suggested that MPs did not think the same rules announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week applied to them.
“Mate, frankly you’re taking the piss out of the majority who comply with the rules,” said one, who said he was a retired police officer. “And then to publicise it on social media just compounds matter. You should be setting an example for others to follow. Really surprised at your incredible arrogance.”
But Mr Kinnock said he had not done anything to risk spreading the Covid-19 coronavirus.
“I felt that this was essential travel as I had to deliver some necessary supplies to my parents. I stayed long enough to sing ‘happy birthday’ to Dad, and then I was off,” he said.