Labour MP Stephen Kinnock reprimanded by police for travelling to his father’s house for his birthday

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Monday 30 March 2020 08:45
news
(PA/BBC/Twitter)

Sometimes if you’re a person with a public profile, you can occasionally… benefit from a relaxation of rules that would normally apply to the general population.

Not so with coronavirus, as Labour MP Stephen Kinnock quickly discovered this weekend.

Kinnock tweeted what he thought was a sweet social distancing story about visiting his father, former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, on his birthday.

“Dad turned 78 today. Incredible, but true,” wrote the MP for Aberavon.

“@HelleThorning_S and I took a couple of chairs over, and sat in their front garden for a socially distanced celebration. As you do. Happy birthday, mate”..

Unfortunately for Kinnock, South Wales Police spotted his tweet and had some… concerns.

“Hello @SKinnock we know celebrating your Dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel,” they responded.

“We all have our part to play in this, we urge you to comply with @GOVUK restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe. Thank you”.

Kinnock did not take too kindly to the guidance, replying with extreme politeness (which is when you know a British person is enraged) and stating he believed the trip to be “essential travel”.

In fairness, if Kinnock was delivering supplies, which is deemed acceptable by government recommendations.

However his sister also tweeted she’d been with Kinnock and his wife on their trip and their delivery had consisted of “cake, crumble and a lamb curry”.

Hmm… very essential.

The last week has seen police forces crack down on those thought to be flouting social distancing guidance.

Derby Police tweeted their “absolute shock” at breaking up a “massive party” over the weekend.

And Warrington Police also said they’d issued summons to six people for offences including “returning from parties” and “out for a drive due to boredom”.

There was also criticism after Derbyshire Police used a drone to “shame” walkers hiking in the Lake District – despite them still following social distancing guidance.

As for Kinnock, the court of public opinion had their say.

Some questioned what made Kinnock’s 70+ parents the exception to the rules of isolation.

Others pointed out Kinnock’s apparent hypocrisy in tweeting instructions he then didn’t appear to follow (although there is no confirmation he actually resides in South Wales or was making the trip from there).

However, some called the police “petty” for their actions.

And others defended Kinnock, despite their professed dislike of him.

With a projected lockdown until June and no widespread testing yet available, surely it’s better to be safe than sorry?

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