Stephen Kinnock has been publicly shamed by police for “non-essential” travel during the coronavirus lockdown after going to celebrate his father’s 78th birthday.
MP for Aberavon in South Wales, posted a picture of himself sitting on a chair outside his parents’ London home, adhering to guidelines to stay two metres apart, as they marked the occasion with his wife, the former prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. His Father is the former failed leader of the Labour Party who oversaw a humiliating defeat to John Major in 1992 despite being expected to win.
South Wales police, 150 miles away attacked him for the decision to go to see his family.
South Wales police replied to his pictures on social media with: “Hello @SKinnock 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 @GOVUK restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe. Thank you.”
The MP then defended the move, saying he had been delivering “necessary supplies” and only stayed “long enough to sing ‘happy birthday’ to Dad”.
Dad turned 78 today. Incredible, but true. @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. 🍰 🎁🏴 pic.twitter.com/ipGuN2WzsC
— Stephen Kinnock (@SKinnock) March 28, 2020
There was a mixed reaction to the Police action with some saying it was the right thing to do with others accusing the force of being overzealous.
Don Morgan tweeted: “This looks very wrong ….focus on the big stuff … not trivia … this will lose you public support at a time when it’s really going to be needed.”
Walkies Cleo added: “Looking after vulnerable relatives is indeed essential so well done Stephen. You delivered essential supplies, checked they were ok, all from a safe distance. @SWpolice you should be disgusted with your post, doing your force no favours and will lose all respect with public!!”
However, others agreed with South Wales police, saying the MP was setting a bad example to others. Bleddyn Dunn wrote: “What’s the travel distance? Why didn’t you leave these ‘supplies’ at the door and leave. That’s what most people are doing, including me for my Dad. I wished my Dad happy birthday over the phone on Thursday.
Another said: “What you’ve done is irresponsible and breaks the regulations set out by the government. Essential supplies can be left on the doorstep, you don’t need to take chairs along and photograph yourself. You should just take the L on this one.”