Concerns raised after ‘hypocritical’ councillor spotted breaching lockdown rules at 50th birthday party in the Lakes

AN MP has called for clearer guidelines surrounding lockdown after a councillor was spotted breaching lockdown rules at a 50th birthday party in the Lakes.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has insisted that Government guidelines need to be ‘much clearer’ after a group of party-goers allegedly broke lockdown rules in the Lakes.

The party was held for Huddersfield Liberal Democrat councillor Anthony Smith’s 50th birthday.

Councillor Smith, who was elected in 2019, travelled to Fallbarrow Hall in Bowness-on-Windermere last weekend to celebrate his birthday with family and friends.

Photographs posted on social media showed the elected member posing for a group picture with friends as well as people gathered in a non-socially distanced way.

A formal complaint was made against Councillor Smith ,which argued his actions have potentially brought his role and the council into disrepute.

However, South Lakes MP Tim Farron, said there is an issue surrounding lockdown rules due to their complexities.

He said: “The restrictions exist to keep everyone safe. We have seen worrying increases in infection rates in many places, that’s why we must all continue to keep to the rules.

“Covid-19 has not gone away and we must do everything we can to keep one another safe and save lives.

“There is an issue that the rules have now got so complicated and vary so much across the country.

“The Government need to be much clearer, and maybe even resume the press conferences.”

Cllr Smith defended the photo, arguing that social distancing measures were observed apart from during that one group shot.

He said: “The picture was taken at my 50th birthday party which had been planned for months and went ahead only when we could assure ourselves we could do so safely, and after a personal visit to the venue a week or so before.

“It is a brief moment when the party came together outside for a group shot, no more than a minute.

“Other than this, we worked very hard to ensure that social distancing measures where in place.”

The Westmorland Gazette | News