Police publicly shame Neil Kinnock's MP son for visiting dad on birthday

30 March 2020, 09:32

Stephen Kinnock posted the picture online
Stephen Kinnock posted the picture online. Picture: Twitter

By Matt Drake

Neil Kinnock's MP son Stephen has been publicly shamed by police for visiting his father on his birthday.

The son of the former Labour leader, who is the MP for Aberavon in South Wales, posted a picture of himself sitting on a chair outside his parents' home while wishing his father happy birthday.

He was adhering to the guidelines to stay two metres apart along with his wife, former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Mr Kinnock wrote: "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."

But South Wales Police scolded him via Twitter.

They replied: "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 defended the move saying he had been delivering "necessary supplies" and only stayed long enough to sing happy birthday.

It is just the latest line in unprecedented actions by the police to enforce lockdown.

Derbyshire police broke up a party with children attending, deterred motorists, dyed a lake black to put off swimmers and filmed walkers with drones.

Critics said police were overzealous in publicly shaming the MP.

One Twitter user said: "Disgusting sneering response here by @swpolice to a good-natured Tweet by @SKinnock, showing a condescending attitude and waste of police time."

Another said: "I find this incredible, while I went shopping today workers in groups of 4 talking together, videos of police enter a comedy club with no social distancing, thought was live cast, it was recorded , and someone sits 15 ft from there elderly parent outside and you comment."

Another claimed the public will lose respect for the police, saying: "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!"

But other people defended the police, including Piers Morgan.

The Good Morning Britain host said: "He says he’s taking essential supplies. Really? Were you Stephen Kinnock? Or just going to wish your dad happy birthday. His dad’s a great man.

"It’s my birthday today. I’m not expecting my parents to rock up in the car. It would be dangerous for them. I’m sure someone closer than Wales can get essential travel to your parents."

Emergency legislation was introduced on Thursday which granted police powers to issue £60 on-the-spot fines or make arrests for breaches to coronavirus rules.

Many forces have created hotlines for people to report their neighbours for breaching rules.

Writing in The Sunday Times Lord Jonathan Sumption, former Supreme Court Justice and Reith Lecturer, said the laws have a lot of public support but could come at a cost of personal liberty and potentially lead to a "police state".