Police have been asked to investigate whether Nigel Farage has broken self-isolation rules after he was pictured drinking in a pub, despite visiting the US in June.
The Brexit Party leader sparked controversy after posting on Twitter he was the “first customer in” a pub on Saturday as lockdown measures eased in England, despite attending a rally for Donald Trump on June 20.
12 o’clock, first customer in. Love it. pic.twitter.com/pBYm9rtejA— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) July 4, 2020
Farage’s tweet led to accusations he had broken self-isolation rules, with advice for travellers returning from the US to the UK saying they should self-isolate for 14 days.
Acting Lib Dem leader Ed Davey revealed he had written to police, asking them to investigate Farage’s trip to the pub, tweeting: ″Millions of people have had to abide by the rules, and he should as well.”
Others also tagged police and border officials on social media, alerting them to the situation.
Hi @kent_police @metpoliceuk I believe this person should be in quarantine currently for 14 days following international travel.— Jamie Murphy (@Microbedoc2) July 4, 2020
Please can you look into this? https://t.co/8j28fPqyGn pic.twitter.com/aBI7LBE0Ku
Hi @metpoliceuk. Nigel is supposed to be quarantining. Have a word, please. Cheers! 🍺— Damon (@damocrat) July 4, 2020
But in a further post on social media, Farage insisted he had not broken the rules.
The 56-year-old wrote: “To all those screaming and shouting about me going to the pub... I have been back from the USA for two weeks and I have been tested – the result was negative.
“Sorry to disappoint you. Cheers!”
However, questions still remain about whether Farage – who attended the Trump rally on June 20 – would have arrived back in the UK in time to have already completed his 14 day quarantine, with some suggesting July 4 should actually have been his last day in self-islation.
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! pic.twitter.com/E8maRljGwS— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) July 4, 2020
It emerged in June that Farage, a long-time Trump ally, had been given a “national interest” waiver to enter the US – despite a national travel ban – in order to attend the president’s much-hyped Oklahoma rally.
An informal Trump adviser, who spoke at the time on condition of anonymity, said Farage was flown from Palm Beach, Florida, to Tulsa for the evening rally, and then to New York City, alongside more than 100 high-profile guests.
Neither the White House nor the Department of Homeland Security would explain what “national interest” was served by allowing in Farage solely to let him attend a Trump rally.
With record Covid-19 infection spikes recorded across the US in recent days and weeks, the advice for travellers returning from the US to the UK is still to self-isolate for 14 days.
In England, if you do not self-isolate, you can be fined up to £1,000.
There are some exceptions to self-isolation rules, for example, diplomats or defence personnel – but while travel rules were waived in the US for Farage, there has been no suggestion that the Brexit Party leader has any such exemption in the UK.
Thousands of pubs have opened across the country on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’, as some coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease further in England.
Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are among the business able to open from July 4, with some drinkers arriving to collect their first pint as early as 6am.
Despite the celebrations, ministers have urged the public not to get carried away.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told the Daily Mail on Saturday that people were entitled to enjoy themselves at pubs but added: “You could end up behind bars if you break the law.”
He also said he would not “shirk” from shutting pubs and restaurants again, and imposing local lockdowns if needed.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.