Nigel Farage was today accused of going to the pub less than 14 days after returning from a trip to the US, flouting quarantine rules.
However, the former UKIP leader has rubbished the claim, insisting he has been back in the UK for two weeks.
He also claimed to have received a negative coronavirus test result.
The Brexit Party leader was lambasted on social media after saying he was the first customer in his local boozer as it opened its doors to the public at 12pm.
Wearing a wax jacket and a checked shirt, Farage posted a picture of himself on Twitter as he enjoyed his first sip of lager.
He captioned the photograph: “12 o’clock, first customer in. Love it,” suggesting he was the first punter through the doors when the pub reopened today.
But Farage could be in breach of lockdown rules after claims he returned to the UK from the US less than two weeks ago.
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Farage was pictured on Saturday, June 20, at Donald Trump’s campaign rally that evening in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which suggests he did not return to the UK until June 21 at the earliest.
At the time, it was confirmed that Farage had been granted exemption from the US travel ban to attend the rally because the visit was deemed ‘in the public interest’.
But nothing was mentioned about the rules he’d have to follow on his return.
The requirements for 14 full days of isolation on his return to the UK mean that, if that timeline is correct, he should be in isolation until at least tomorrow.
The latest government guidance says the British travellers are permitted to return to the UK but must follow the rules for entering the UK again.
On the government’s website, it states:
– need to provide your journey and contact details up to 48 hours before you’re due to arrive in the UK
– are not allowed to leave the place you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK except in very limited situations (known as ’self-isolating’).”
The website also lists a number of people who are exempt from either or both of these rules.
Lib Dem acting leader Ed Davey has today written to Kent Police to ask them to investigate whether Nigel Farage has breached quarantine rules.
Mr Davey said: “There are clearly serious questions to answer for Nigel Farage.
“It is clear from his social media posts that he was in American on June 20th, 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.
“It is a responsibility of everyone to take the lockdown requirements seriously in order to stop the spread of the virus. 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.
“I have written to Kent Police asking them to urgently investigate the timeline of Mr Farage’s travel and ascertain whether he has breached quarantine rules.”
Some of the people replying to Farage’s tweet questioned whether he should be in the pub at all.
One wrote: “Look at me – aren’t I clever, sticking up two fingers at the establishment by breaking quarantine rules after visiting a country Brits are banned from visiting!”
Farage later posted on Twitter: “To all those screaming and shouting about me going to the pub…. I have been back from the USA for 2 weeks and I have been tested — the result was negative. Sorry to disappoint you. Cheers!”
Mirror Online has contacted Nigel Farage for comment.
Farage’s tweet comes as the UK enjoys further lifting of lockdown restrictions today, a day dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ as many pubs and restaurants begin to open their doors.
Early this morning, Wetherspoons customers were queuing outside their local watering holes, some in the early hours of the morning in a bid to be front of the queue for the first pint.
Others came off late shifts and headed straight to the pub for a full English breakfast, washed down with a beer.
Wetherspoons has revealed a number of rules that customers will have to observe going forward, including queuing up outside, operating a ‘one in, one out policy’ and ordering food and drinks on the company’s app to avoid unnecessary contact with staff.
Menus will be one use only, after which they will have to be recycled.
Hand sanitiser stations have been set up around the pub and tables have been set out specifically according to social distancing rules, or with ‘sneeze screens’ as added protection.
Large groups will not be permitted, instead people can gather with members of only one other household.
JD Wetherspoon chairman, Tim Martin, said: “We are extremely pleased that pubs are reopening on 4 July after a long hiatus.”
Under new guidelines, staff will have to take part in temperature checks on arrival and hundreds more workers will be hired to help keep branches sanitised.
A total of £11million will be invested to introduce safety screens at counters – while two new full time workers will be hired per branch.
Another big pub chain decided against opening its 1,700 premises today.
Greene King, which runs Hungry Horses, Chef and Brewers, Wacky Warehouses and other large brands, will instead conduct a phased reopening of its pubs and restaurants.
The first of its pubs and restaurants will reopen on Monday July 6, Yorkshire Live reports.
A spokeswoman for the company said: “We welcome the news that pubs, alongside other hospitality venues, can reopen from next month. Pubs play an important role at the very heart of their communities and have been sorely missed by customers as well as those who work in them.
“We look forward to welcoming back customers to our pubs and providing that great hospitable pub experience we all love.”
Meanwhile, customers can expect price hikes as pubs try to recoup their losses and finance all the extra PPE and health and safety measures they have put in place.
Wetherspoons confirmed that beer, spirits and wine will be going up by 10p, while food items will increase by 20p.
In Samuel Smiths pubs, the ramped up prices are a little more eye-watering, with their lagers now £1 more expensive than before lockdown.