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The Sky News presenter Kay Burley will be off air for six months after hosting a birthday party that broke coronavirus regulations.
Sky’s political editor, Beth Rigby, and north of England correspondent Inzamam Rashid have also agreed not to be on air for three months.
Sky said in a statement that “all those involved regret the incident and have apologised”. It did not say whether the trio would continue to be paid while off-air.
Burley published a statement on Twitter which said: “It doesn’t matter that I thought I was Covid-compliant on a recent social event. The fact is I was wrong, I made a big mistake, and I am sorry.”
She added that she “enormously” regretted others being pulled into the episode. And she said: “I very much look forward to being able to continue my 32-year career with Sky when I return.”
In messages sent to colleagues at the broadcaster, Rigby and Rashid also expressed their apologies.
Rigby wrote: “I want you to know how sorry I am that I let you all down as well as our viewers whom we’re here to serve. I will use this time to reflect on all of this and then come back ready to work with you all again in the new year.”
Rashid wrote: “I made a mistake and I feel awful for how my actions might reflect on Sky News and the amazing people who work here…. I let you down and I want you to know I’m very sorry and it will not happen again.
Sam Washington, another presenter who was present for part of the evening, was deemed not to merit a sanction and it is understood that she will be back on air next week.
Staff on Burley’s breakfast programme are said to be stunned by the news, which leaves the channel without one of its most prominent faces and its lead political reporter with the country still dealing with coronavirus and on the brink of Brexit.
But senior leaders at Sky are understood to have concluded that they had little choice but to impose a severe punishment on Burley, who admitted to breaking coronavirus rules with the party but claimed to have done so by “popping in” to a restaurant because she needed to “spend a penny”.
In fact, Burley was part of a group of 10, which dined at two tables, of six and four, in one venue before moving on to another. A group of four then went on to her home. Sky News have declined to comment on whether they were sitting inside or outside, but have acknowledged that the rules were broken.
The company said: “Everyone at Sky News is expected to comply with the rules and the company takes breaches like this very seriously indeed”.
More details soon…
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Kay Burley off air at Sky News for six months over Covid rule breach | Kay Burley