Coronavirus: Nigel Farage pub trip raised with Kent Police

By Chris Mason
Political correspondent, BBC News

  • Published
Nigel Farage drinks a pint of beerImage source, PA Media

The acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey, has written to Kent Police asking them to investigate whether Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has broken coronavirus quarantine rules.

Mr Farage tweeted a picture of himself at lunchtime on Saturday having a pint in a pub, as many businesses in England reopened.

Exactly a fortnight ago, Mr Farage tweeted from a trip to the United States - where he was a guest at a rally for President Trump.

People travelling to the UK from the US are required to quarantine for a period of 14 days from the moment they arrive.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

"There are clearly serious questions to answer for Nigel Farage," Sir Ed said.

"It is clear from his social media posts that he was in America on 20 June, and he was pictured at a Trump rally that evening. Given the current requirements for visitors returning to the UK to isolate for 14 full days on their return, Nigel Farage appears to be in violation of the quarantine," he added.

"By choosing to go to the pub when it appears he should have been staying at home, Mr Farage is showing a flagrant disregard for the safety of people in his community."

In his letter to Kent's chief constable, Alan Pughsley - which has also been sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel - the former cabinet minister said:

"I write to ask you to immediately investigate this issue, establish the timeline of events for Mr Farage's return to the UK and establish whether Mr Farage was in breach of his quarantine. It is vital that lives are not put at risk by breaches of quarantine.

"I am copying this letter to the home secretary as I believe this case illustrates the difficulties that the police and Home Office will have in enforcing the quarantine rules as they are currently set out."

So how has Mr Farage managed to quarantine back in the UK for 14 days, if he was in the States two weeks ago?

He insists he has "been back from the USA for two weeks."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

His spokesman told me he flew straight back to Britain on the same day - and claimed that a negative coronavirus test after he got back meant he could head back out and about again.

But the Department of Health has told me getting a test does not get you out of quarantining - self isolating at home - because a test could amount to a false negative; you could be harbouring the virus but not yet symptomatic.

Writing on Twitter, Alexandra Phillips, a former Brexit Party MEP who once worked as Nigel Farage's media adviser, said:

"Dear Ed Davey, The police have better things to do, you sad little man. Getting an officer to go to Nigel's house to tell him he shouldn't have gone to the pub is a total waste of resources and makes you look like a pathetic, attention-seeking twerp."