Sky News anchor Kay Burley off air for six months after breaking Covid-19 lockdown rules

Sky News presenter will be off air for six months after breaking lockdown rules to celebrate her 60th birthday.

Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby and reporter Inzaman Rashid have been suspended for three months.

In a tweet Ms Burley said:

“I have today agreed with Sky News to step back from my broadcasting role for a period of reflection.

“It’s clear to me that we are all in the fight against Covid-19 and that we all have a duty to stick firmly by the rules.

“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.

“Some dear friends and colleagues – some of the most talented and committed professionals in our business – have been pulled into this episode and I regret this enormously.

“I was one of the founding presenters on Sky News.

“No one is prouder of our channel’s reputation, the professionals on our team, and the impact we make.

“I very much look forward to being able to continue my 32-year career with Sky when I return.”

In a statement the broadcaster said:

“Over the course of the evening, Covid guidelines were breached.

“Sky News expects all team members to fully comply with the COVID restrictions. All those involved regret the incident and have apologised.

“Following our review of what took place on 5th December, we have agreed with Beth Rigby (Political Editor) and Inzamam Rashid (News Correspondent) that they will not be on air for three months, and we have agreed with Kay Burley (Breakfast Show Presenter) that she will not be on air for six months.”

Sky news chiefs were said to be “furious” about the breach of the Government’s coronavirus regulations.

Ms Burley and Ms Rigby have both reported vociferously about people who’ve broken the guidelines.

Ms Rigby gave former Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings a torrid time over his trip to Castle Barnard.

And Ms Burley “tore” into Michael Gove when he defended Cummings’ actions.

There was anger and resentment in the Sky newsroom about the actions of the few breaking the rules.

A source said:

“It’s impossible to hold the Government and ministers to account over transgressions – and then break the same rules yourself.

“It makes us a laughingstock.

“Like it or not, an interviewer has to have the moral high ground.”

Veteran Sky broadcaster retweeted one viewer’s angry comments.

It said: “Look at the state of Sky News.

“The morons spent all summer preaching to us and now look at them!

“After illegally going on a bender, they were going to go to a hospital to put lives at risk!”

To mark her 60th birthday, Ms Burley and a group of friends went to the Century Club in Soho.

The party of ten sat at two tables – a four and a six.

The group then went to a nearby restaurant before just four members returned to Ms Burley’s home to continue the party.

In a tweet she said:

“I want to apologise to you all for an error of judgment.

“On Saturday night I was enjoying my 60th birthday at a Covid-compliant restaurant.

“I am embarrassed to say that later in the evening I inadvertently broke the rules.

“I had been waiting for a taxi at 11pm to get home.

“Desperate for the loo, I briefly popped into another restaurant to spend a penny. I can only apologise.”

Ms Burley has blamed the error on a “misunderstanding”.

But she has not resolved why she and four people – including Sky political editor Beth Rigby – returned to her house.



About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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