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Ministers ‘did not meet in kitchen’ in breach of covid rules

Ministers ‘did not meet in kitchen’ in breach of covid rules

Tuesday 09 February 2021

Ministers ‘did not meet in kitchen’ in breach of covid rules

The newly-elected Minister for Housing and Communities has claimed he was only speaking “figuratively” when he said he had chatted about his new role in the Economic Development Minister’s kitchen, after islanders raised concerns that the pair had breached covid guidance.

Having accepted the position during this morning's States Assembly meeting, Deputy Russell Labey said in a speech to his colleagues that, two hours after receiving a surprise call from the Chief Minister, he was in Senator Lyndon Farnham’s kitchen.

“I am surprised to be in this position this morning,” Deputy Labey told his political colleagues. “It’s not something I sought - I was very happy doing with what I was doing and the call came as a surprise at 15:00 on Saturday afternoon from the Chief Minister. I said, ‘Thank you’ and, 'I will think about it.'” 

Explaining that “by 17:00, I was sitting in Senator Farnham’s kitchen", he recalled the pair's conversation: "‘What’s this all about Russell?’, ‘The Chief Minister just offered me housing’, ‘Brilliant’, he said, ‘There’s a real opportunity here, it’s going to take some work, it’s going to take some doing, I’ll help you but there’s a realistic chance that we can offer our young people the opportunity to buy their home.'"

Deputy Labey said he then returned home at 18:00 to a series of emails about housing policy. 

While he then went on to talk about his aspirations for the role and how it will be a “steep learning curve”, islanders were quick to take to social media to ask why the Ministers had met inside when the Government's public health guidance has stated that islanders from different households should not meet indoors.

Deputy Labey, however, reassured everyone replying he was speaking “figuratively”.

“I have never in my life ever been in the Senator’s kitchen,” he tweeted in response. “I do regularly pass his house on my walks and if he’s in we sit in a lovely spot on the roadside wall.”

Earlier in his speech, Deputy Labey had also mentioned a couple of friends from Scotland who were in the island after they were “marooned” as a result of what he described as “Nicola Sturgeon’s blockade."

Questioned by a Twitter user about his friends, the new Housing Minister said they were in his “bubble”. After another user pointed out that there are no 'bubbles' under the island's current covid rules, he replied: "household."

The Government declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Express.

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Posted by Jon Jon on
Havn’t heard Farnham deny this yet.
Posted by Paul Hadikin on
This is a great start.he said he was there
Posted by Jon Jon on
Paul , it’s worth a bet he was! It’s his acting performance coming out now!
Posted by John Henwood on
Oh! for goodness sake... I'm always happy to have a pop at our politicians, but really, trying to make a 'shock, horror' story about this is just childish.
Posted by Alan Keen on
Brew Dog did an excellent IPA buy the name of "Barnard Castle Eye Test". Perhaps the Stinky Bay Brewing Co. could brew a "Kitchen Table- Figuratively" IPA.
Posted by Jon Jon on
John might be a petty thing to you,but rules are rules,I’ve just spent ten days in isolation because I came in contact with a positive case,bored out my mind...I kept to the rules ,stayed isolated,quite honestly like some I could of ignored these rules.Labeys denying it now,Farnhams been quiet about it,people make their own conclusions.
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