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Kay Burley to go off air for six months in wake of controversial birthday gathering

Political editor Beth Rigby and correspondent Inzamam Rashid have agreed to be off air for three months

Kay Burley arrives at the Women in Film & TV Awards at the London.
Kay Burley arrives at the Women in Film & TV Awards at the London.
Image: Yui Mok via PA Images

SKY NEWS PRESENTER Kay Burley has agreed to stay off air for six months “for a period of reflection” after she and other Sky News reporters gathered at a London restaurant at the weekend for Burley’s 60th birthday.

As a result of an internal review, Sky News has said Burley agreed to be off air for six months, and political editor Beth Rigby and correspondent Inzamam Rashid, who were also at the gathering, have agreed to be off air for three months.

Burley said in a statement shared on Twitter 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. Some dear friends and colleagues… have been pulled into this episode and I regret this enormously.

She added that she looks forward to continuing her career with Sky when she returns.

London is in Tier 2 of England’s Covid-19 three-tier system, meaning it’s not advised to socialise with people who are not in your household or support bubble, at home or in a public place. Gatherings of up to six people are permitted outdoors only, in what’s called “the rule of six”.

It was reported that Burley attended one restaurant with a group of people in London, and afterwards, the presenter allegedly went to a second restaurant. Responding to this on Monday, Burley said on Twitter:

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“I want to apologise to you all for an error of judgment. 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.

Sky News reported that all staff involved “regret the incident and have apologised”.

Yesterday, Sky News editor-at-large Adam Boulton told The Guardian that the incident had raised concerns over “the credibility of our journalism”. 

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