Kay Burley has agreed to be off air from Sky News for six months after admitting to breaking tier two coronavirus rules.
The presenter celebrated her 60th birthday with a group of friends, including Sky News colleagues on Saturday, at a restaurant in London and apologised to ‘inadvertently breaking the rules’.
Correspondents Beth Rigby and Inzamam Rashid, who also attended the bash, have also agreed to take three months off air.
Kay explained how she had dinner at a ‘Covid compliant restaurant’ before popping into a second restaurant to use the bathroom.
However Guido Fawkes reported that the journalist first marked the occasion at Century Club in Soho with a group of 10 that included three of her Sky colleagues. Kay’s party sat at two tables before going on to a nearby restaurant.
It’s also claimed a smaller group of four then returned to her home to continue the celebrations.
Issuing a statement about her suspension, Kay 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.’
The 59-year-old, who turns 60 on December 17, continued: ‘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.’
News of Kay’s suspension comes after it was confirmed the presenter would be off-air from the news channel until January 4 2021. However she claimed it was for a pre-agreed annual leave as she jets off to Africa tomorrow.
‘Lovely people, whatever else you read be safe in the knowledge I was always heading to my beloved Africa on Friday to sit with lions. They kill for food not sport,’ she tweeted.
Apologising for her actions, Kay said it was an ‘error of judgment’ and added: ‘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.’
A spokesperson for Sky News earlier told the Guardian: ‘We place the highest importance on complying with the government guidelines on Covid, and we expect all our people to comply.
‘We were disappointed to learn that a small number of Sky News staff may have engaged in activity that breached the guidelines.
‘Although this took place at a social event in personal time, we expect all our people to follow the rules that are in place for everyone. An internal process is under way to review the conduct of the people involved.’
Kay is one of the most respected presenters at Sky News and is credited with overhauling the channel when she joined in 1988.
In recent months, she has interviewed and held to account key senior ministers of the government on their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Michael Gove.
Credit: Original article published here.