The Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, is facing claims that he broke quarantine rules by going to a pub when it reopened for the first time since lockdown.
Farage tweeted a picture of himself holding a pint, saying he was the first customer in the establishment on Saturday.
However, a post from 20 June shows he was in the US on that date and planning to travel to Tulsa, apparently in reference to a Donald Trump rally which took place that evening in the city.
According to the i newspaper, Farage was spotted at the rally taking part in a panel discussion called “Team Trump on Tour”.
The timing of the tweets and his presence at the rally indicate that he has been in the UK for less than 14 days. Government guidelines say that any resident or visitor travelling to the UK must self-isolate at the place they are staying for 14 days, except in very limited situations.
Ed Davey, a candidate to be Liberal Democrat leader, has written to Kent police asking them to investigate whether Farage breached quarantine rules, and said Farage was showing “flagrant disregard” for public safety.
“There are clearly serious questions to answer for Nigel Farage. It is clear from his social media posts that he was in America on 20 June, and he was pictured at a Trump rally that evening,” he said. “Given the current requirements for visitors returning to the UK to isolate for 14 full days on their return, Nigel Farage appears to be in violation of the quarantine.
“It is a responsibility of everyone to take the lockdown requirements seriously in order to stop the spread of the virus. By choosing to go to the pub when it appears he should have been staying at home, Mr Farage is showing a flagrant disregard for the safety of people in his community.”
Farage denied having broken the regulations.
Responding to the backlash, he tweeted: “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.”
But he did not clarify the date on which when he travelled back from the US, or deny that he had been present at the rally in the US 13 days ago.
Farage was granted a special exemption from the US travel ban for his visit, which was deemed to be “in the national interest, as determined by the secretary of state, the secretary of homeland security or their designees”, according to the US Department of Homeland Security.
Some Twitter users mentioned the apparent breach of quarantine restrictions in their reply to Farage’s post, with some tagging police forces to inform them that he had allegedly broken the regulations.
Many pubs across England reopened on Saturday after more than three months of closure due to coronavirus restrictions, with laws allowing them to reopen from 6am provided they had a licence to do so.