By Chris York
While many of the replies to the tweet shared the sense of occasion, one from South Wales Police was slightly less jovial in tone.
Dad turned 78 today. Incredible, but true. @HelleThorning_S and I took a couple of chairs over, and sat in their front garden for a socially distanced celebration. As you do ?Happy birthday, mate. ? ???????? pic.twitter.com/ipGuN2WzsC
— Stephen Kinnock (@SKinnock) March 28, 2020
The force wrote: “Hello Stephen, we know celebrating your Dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel.
“We all have our part to play in this, we urge you to comply with government restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe. Thank you.”
Hello @SKinnock we know celebrating your Dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel. We all have our part to play in this, we urge you to comply with @GOVUK restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe. Thank you. ^cy
— South Wales Police | #StayHomeSaveLives (@swpolice) March 29, 2020
Kinnock defended his jaunt outdoors, replying: “I felt that this was essential travel as I had to deliver some necessary supplies to my parents.
“I stayed long enough to sing ‘happy birthday’ to Dad, and then I was off. All the best, Stephen.”
I felt that this was essential travel as I had to deliver some necessary supplies to my parents. I stayed long enough to sing ‘happy birthday’ to Dad, and then I was off. All the best, Stephen.
— Stephen Kinnock (@SKinnock) March 29, 2020
At the time of writing, South Wales Police has yet to respond.
Current government guidelines say people can only leave the house to shop for necessities, exercise once a day, get medical care or help a vulnerable person, or travel to and from work if you can’t work from home.
Despite the nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus, there have been multiple reports of people flouting the rules.
Officers in Derby reported having to break up “25 people having a massive party with speakers and karaoke” on Sunday.
Group 1 Officers have just attended an address in absolute shock to find 25 adults and children having a massive party with speakers and karaoke. Everyone dispersed and hosts dealt with.
It is clear people are still having complete disregard for the Government advice and rules. pic.twitter.com/g3GFGhFN6e
— Derby West Response (@DerWestResponse) March 29, 2020
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster warned ministers would not hesitate to enforce tougher rules if needed.
As the death toll in the UK passed 1,200, Gove declined to be drawn on how long the tough measures restricting people’s lives would be in place, and what stricter rules could look like
“There are different projections as to how long the lockdown might last,” he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the key experts advising the government on the spread of the virus, told The Sunday Times the lockdown would likely have to remain in place until June.
Asked about Ferguson’s prediction, Gove said: “It’s not the case that the length of the lockdown is something that is absolutely fixed.
“It depends on all of our behaviour. If we follow the guidelines, we can deal more effectively with the spread of the disease.”