MP insists social distancing was in place at veteran’s 100th birthday party

An MP has explained his decision to attend a 100th birthday celebration for a Second World War veteran during lockdown.

A video clip showing Labour’s Kevan Jones, who represents North Durham, attending the party has been circulating on social media.

Mr Jones said he was invited to an outdoor celebration, organised by the community, for Frederick Herron’s 100th in Quaking Houses, County Durham, on May 10.

People were meant to join in from their own property, but bad weather meant the party was brought inside at short notice, with social distancing strictly kept, Mr Jones said.

He said: “I would like to assure everyone that this was well organised to ensure that social distancing could be maintained and that only a very limited amount of people would be there and everyone’s hands were sanitised as they entered the building.

“I understand that a video has been shared that was taken from an angle that does not illustrate the distances between myself and other people at the event.

“Can I give the reassurance that social distancing was maintained although people from the same household were able to sit together.”

Mr Jones said police advice had been sought before the party and officers were present.

He added: “This was a small act of kindness organised by the community at Quaking Houses to recognise a debt of gratitude to Second World War veteran Frederick Herron whose 100th birthday happened to coincide with the 75th VE Day Anniversary bank holiday weekend, which I know he and his family greatly appreciated.”

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