Jeremy Corbyn WON'T be fined £200 for breaking Covid 'Rule of Six'

Jeremy Corbyn WON’T be fined £200 for breaking Covid ‘Rule of Six’ despite being caught on camera at dinner party for eight

  • Dinner was held to remember Occupy Wall Street organiser David Graeber 
  • Corbyn and his wife were pictured attending a dinner with 7 other people 
  • Event was in breach of the government’s ‘Rule of Six’ on social gatherings 
  • Ex-Labour leader has apologised for the incident, admitting it was a ‘mistake’ 
  • Scotland Yard has now confirmed Mr Corbyn will not be fined for the breach 

Jeremy Corbyn will not be fined £200 after he broke the ‘Rule of Six’ at a dinner held to remember the late Occupy Wall Street organiser David Graeber.

The former Labour leader, 71 and his wife Laura Alvarez, 51, joined Mr Graeber’s widow, the artist Nika Dubrovsky, for the London meal.

Mr Corbyn and his wife were pictured at the dinner alongside seven other people, breaking the current rules on gatherings.  

However, the former Labour leader will not be fined, Scotland Yard confirmed, after it revealed that police will not retrospectively enforce coronavirus laws.   

A spokesman said police did not issue fines retrospectively for breaches of coronavirus legislation to allow people the chance to listen to and follow advice.  

It comes as allies of Mr Corbyn began a hunt for the mole who leaked the photo of the dinner. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s father Stanley, who was caught in a shop without a face mask on, will also not be fined under the same conditions.  

The former Labour leader, 71, (circled left) and his wife Laura Alvarez, 51, (circled middle) seated with Mr Graeber’s widow Nika Dubrovsky (circled middle) at the dinner

Explaining the decision, a police spokesman said: ‘As a matter of course the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] is not investigating Covid- related issues retrospectively. 

‘Where we become aware of a breach occurring, officers will seek to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules, only enforcing as a last resort.

‘Where alleged breaches are brought to our attention after the event, officers will not have not had the opportunity to engage, explain or encourage, and those involved will not have not had the opportunity to respond positively to that process – as most people do. 

‘Therefore, it would not be appropriate or an effective use of resources in most circumstances to investigate or pursue enforcement. We encourage everyone to make themselves aware of, and to follow, the rules.’

It emerged yesterday that the former Labour leader attended the dinner in honour of Mr Graeber.

Mr Graeber, 59, died suddenly early last month in Venice and had been widely credited with helping to organise Occupy and its ‘We are the 99%’ slogan.  

A picture that emerged of the gathering prompted Corbyn to apologise for breaking coronavirus restrictions on the number of people meeting in a household.

The former Labour leader had paid tribute to him in a special film last month and explained how he had become such good friends.

Corbyn said: ‘He was a very organised anarchist. What David saw was anarchism as empowerment of people.

‘David became a very trenchant defender and supporter of us and I will be forever grateful to him for that.

‘I was talking to Nika last night, his widow, and they were discussing performance as a lecturer. Apparently unprecedented numbers of students wanted to come to his lectures.’ 

David Graeber was professor of anthropology at LSE and also founded Occupy Wall Street

On his bike: Jeremy Corbyn takes his bicycle from his house in north London for a ride

It came after Boris Johnson’s father Stanley apologised after he was seen breaking rules on wearing masks in shops. 

David Graeber: anarchy and anthropology

David Graeber was a professor of anthropology at Yale University but is most famous for his activism.

He worked on the initial stages of the Occupy Wall Street movement which saw crowds mass by the buildings to stop them functioning in a protest against economic inequality.

Mr Graeber was also a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics.

He was born in New York before moving to London and was married to artist Nika Dubrovsky.

 He said in 2015: ‘Huge swaths of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they believe to be unnecessary.

‘The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.’

Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said on Thursday morning: ‘Nobody is exempt and Jeremy Corbyn rightly apologised, it was wrong for him to be at a dinner party with that many people.

‘My understanding is that more and more people arrived and when it got over six he should have left.

‘He’s been fined, that’s the right course of action and he’s apologised and that’s really important.

‘Jeremy Corbyn was wrong , he’s apologised and that’s the right thing to do and he’s paying a fine.’

‘We’ve seen people like Dominic Cummings flout the rules and break the rules saying he was checking his eyesight,’ she told Good Morning Britain. 

However, despite her claim, Mr Corbyn has not been fined. 

The MP for Islington North last night apologised for the incident, admitting it was a ‘mistake’. 

‘I recently had dinner at a friend’s house where the number of guests eventually exceeded five,’ he told The Sun. 

‘I understand that remaining at the dinner was a breach of the rule of six. I apologise for my mistake.’

Guests at the event reportedly included left-wing activists, filmmakers and artists.

One guest got up from the table to take a picture of the other eight, with an unsmiling Corbyn sitting two seats away from his wife.  

The ‘rule of six’ was brought in by the government on September 14 in an attempt to control the spread of a second wave of Covid-19. 

Those in violation of the rules face potential fines of £200 each for first-time offenders. 

Rule of snitch: How are coronavirus breaches reported and who by? 

Breaches of Coronavirus rules can be reported to the authorities by members of the public, if they wish.

Some police forces have dedicated pages Covid-19 informants can use to dob in regulation-breakers.

It requires them to upload information to the force, who will then look over the ‘evidence’ and decide whether to take further action.

The Met Police has a dedicated page called ‘Tell us about a possible breach of coronavirus (Covid-19) measures’ 

Councils cannot deal with reports about groups or individuals but can act on tip-offs about businesses in their areas. 

It is understood the dinner party took place on the same day Corbyn’s older brother Piers led an anti-mask rally of thousands of people in Trafalgar Square. 

A source said: ‘It’s clear that Jeremy realised immediately the danger the photo had put him in.

‘His face says it all. He knew he shouldn’t have been present and he, of all people, should know the rules.’

David Morris, Tory MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, described the image as ‘disappointing’. 

‘Millions of Brits are quietly sticking to the rules to defeat this horrific virus while Jeremy Corbyn is swanning around at a posh ­dinner party,’ he said. 

The rule applies across England by law, meaning that gatherings must be limited.

There are also local lockdowns in place across much of England with some 16 million Britons living under such local restrictions. 

Britain today recorded 7,108 more coronavirus cases and another 71 deaths — including a three-month high of seven in Scotland. 

Daily infections are up 15 per cent on last Wednesday’s 6,178 and almost 80 per cent higher than on Wednesday two weeks ago. 

But Britain’s infections are a far-cry from what they were during the darkest days of the crisis in March and April, when at least 100,000 people were getting struck down every day. 

Rule of Six: The new rules at a glance 

FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLDS

OFF: All gatherings of more than six people will be illegal, putting the traditional family Christmas at risk.

A family of five will be allowed to meet only one grandparent at a time, while families of six or more will be banned from meeting anyone.

It does not matter how many different households meet up, as long as they stick to the rule of six.

So six people from six different households can all get together, but two households of four cannot.

ON: The only exemption is if a household or a support bubble is made up of more than six people.

Support bubbles allow adults who live by themselves – as well as single parents – to join up with one other household.

SOCIALISING

OFF: All social gatherings of more than six – whether a book club, dinner party or picnic – are banned.

Police will have the power to break up bigger groups in parks, pubs and private homes.

An army of ‘Covid marshals’ will be recruited by councils to step up enforcement, patrolling town centres, parks, shopping centres and train stations and encouraging large groups to break up.

People in groups of seven or more face spot fines of £100, doubling with each repeat offence to a maximum of £3,200.

OFF: Pubs or restaurants cannot seat more than six people at one table. Hospitality venues can still accept more than six people in total, but each group must be separate and kept a safe distance apart.

So a group of eight friends, for example, can’t get round the restriction by booking two neighbouring tables of four.

And you cannot go to a pub in one group, then join another group. Venues face fines of £1,000 if they do not comply with the rules.

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas must record names and contact details of all customers, visitors and staff for 21 days.

RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES

ON: Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples will remain open, although congregations will be required to stay at least a metre apart.

ON: Wedding ceremonies and receptions are exempt from the new rules, and up to 30 guests are allowed but they have to sit or stand a metre apart.

ON: Funerals are also exempt, with 30 people allowed.

SPORTS

ON: Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will remain open, as long as they are ‘Covid secure’ and enforce social distancing rules. Yoga or exercise classes with more than six people are allowed.

ON: Grassroots sport is largely unaffected. Recreational sports, including five-a-side football, cricket, rugby and parkruns, can go ahead as long as they follow protocols. But teams of more than six can’t go for a post-match pint together.

ON: Professional sports and elite training can go ahead. Pilot events for reintroducing fans to stadiums can continue, but with a limit of 1,000 spectators.

SCHOOLS, CHILDCARE AND OFFICES

ON: Schools and universities are not affected by the new rules. But they must continue to operate under existing guidelines.

ON: Youth groups, registered childcare and playgroups are exempt from the rule of six.

OFF: The rules still apply outside these settings, so a group of ten school friends cannot go from the classroom to a park, or seven colleagues cannot go from the office to the pub.

PROTESTS

ON: Protests can go ahead in groups larger than six, as long as they are ‘Covid secure’. 

It comes as Boris Johnson’s rallying cry to the nation to keep fighting coronavirus was bolstered by new figures showing the infection rate started slowing after restrictions, including the rule of six, were tightened.

In the strongest evidence yet that local lockdowns are working, results from the largest Covid-19 study in England found the R-rate fell from 1.7 to around 1.1 this month, following the implementation of the new rules.

The director of the study by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori said the interim findings from 80,000 participants ‘reinforced the need for protective measures’ to help extinguish the virus.

That restrictions are seemingly helping to stem the spread of Covid-19 will help the Prime Minister’s case for imposing curbs to flatten the second wave.

At a Downing Street press conference last night, Mr Johnson, flanked by Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, vowed not to ‘throw in the sponge’ and capitulate to demands to abandon his strategy.

Critics have argued that the recent suite of measures, including local lockdowns and national restrictions such as 10pm curfews on pubs, are ineffective but are laying waste to the economy and infringing civil liberties.

While the rate of infection appears to be falling, the study, commissioned by the Department for Health, found that of the volunteers tested between September 18-26, one in 200 people had coronavirus.

It also revealed the virus to be spreading more among young people, while simultaneously laying bare the North-South divide, pointing to the north west as the epicentre of the UK’s outbreak.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial from the School of Public Health, said: ‘While our latest findings show some early evidence that the growth of new cases may have slowed, suggesting efforts to control the infection are working, the prevalence of infection is the highest that we have recorded to date.

‘This reinforces the need for protective measures to limit the spread of the disease and the public’s adherence to these, which will be vital to minimise further significant illness and loss of life from Covid-19.’

Despite the green shoots of recovery, the government is still under pressure following the introduction of the rule of six and other lockdown measures.

Mr Johnson was lampooned on Tuesday night and urged to ‘get a grip’ after becoming muddled with the North East’s lockdown rules, forcing him to make a rare apology for ‘misspeaking’.

In a toe-curling episode that mirrored comedian Matt Lucas’s spoof of government bumbling, the PM floundered as he was grilled on how the restrictions work – suggesting that households could still mix in groups of six indoors. 

To cap his embarrassment, Mr Johnson then had to tweet to clear up the confusion, saying he had misspoken and households will not be allowed to mix indoors, regardless of numbers.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner claimed the PM did not understand the rules he is imposing on two million people.

She added: ‘For the Prime Minister to not understand his own rules is grossly incompetent. These new restrictions are due to come into force across huge parts of the country tonight. The Government needs to get a grip.’ 

Answering questions about the North East lockdown at Exeter College in Devon yesterday, Mr Johnson said: ‘On the rule of six, outside the areas such as the North East where extra measures have been brought in, it is six inside, six outside.

‘And in the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in you should follow the guidance of the local authorities.

‘But it’s six in a home or six in hospitality, but as I understand it not six outside. That is the situation there.’ 

Whitehall sources said No10 had been blindsided by Matt Hancock’s decision to press ahead with the new restrictions, which had not been expected until at least the end of this week. 

The PM’s blunder had uncomfortable echoes of the skit by Lucas, which was aired at the start of the Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 last week. 

It saw the comedian dressed up as Mr Johnson taking a faux press conference in Downing Street. Ridiculing the complicated rules, Lucas urged people to ‘bake in a tent’ if they must, before adding: ‘Don’t bake in a tent.’ 

The Imperial College and Ipsos Mori study laid bare the North-South divide, pointing to the north west as the epicentre of the UK’s outbreak

In the strongest evidence yet that local lockdowns are working, results from the largest Covid-19 study in England found the R-rate fell from 1.7 to around 1.1

Last night, the PM finally bowed to demand to give MPs a vote before any fresh lockdown restrictions – after furious Speaker Lindsay Hoyle blasted him for treating the Commons with ‘contempt’.

In the face of a huge backbench rebellion over the scope of new laws introduced by ministers without being seen by MPs, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the government would ‘consult Parliament’ on any England-wide or UK-wide restrictions, and a vote will be held in advance ‘wherever possible’.

It came ahead of a vote in the Commons on renewing emergency coronavirus powers, with around 100 MPs ready to force changes if the Government failed to give concessions.

Mr Hancock said: ‘Today I can confirm to the House that for significant national measures, with effect in the whole of England or UK-wide, we will consult Parliament – wherever possible we will hold votes before such regulations come into force,’ he said.

‘But of course responding to the virus means that the Government must act with speed when required and we cannot hold up urgent regulations which are needed to control the virus and save lives.’

Sir Graham Brady, who led the Tory revolt, welcomed the climbdown – which followed weeks of rising tensions with the backbenches. The motion was later passed by 330 votes to 24, majority 306.

Mr Johnson tonight begged Britons to stick with his coronavirus plan, warning that a ‘more costly’ second full lockdown will have to be imposed unless the public behaves better.

At a No10 press conference with Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, the PM said it was too early to judge whether the Rule of Six and 10pm pubs curfew introduced over the past fortnight were working.

And he said that letting the virus ‘take its course’ risked overwhelming the NHS and many more deaths.

But in a nod to rising anxiety about the consequences of restrictions, Mr Johnson said he intended to update the public more ‘regularly’ in the coming weeks. 

Source: Read Full Article