Wakefield’s Tory MP demonstrates his contempt for the rules

Official portrait of Imran Ahmad Khan MP by Richard Townshend is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Correction: The initial version of this article stated that Imran Ahmad Khan MP attended a party with Wakefield AFC on Saturday night. Mr Ahmad Khan has clarified to the Wakefield Express that it was an “initiation – not a party – and they sang some songs”. He has yet to explain why the Tier 2 rules in place in Wakefield didn’t apply to this ‘initiation with singing’ event.

As the North prepares for a further wave of coronavirus infections, with hospital beds in demand amid the failure of the government’s test and trace programme, the MP for Wakefield, Imran Ahmad Khan, has demonstrated how he feels about the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

A video has emerged of Ahmad Khan at an ‘initiation with singing’ event on Saturday night with Wakefield AFC as they celebrated their 3 – 2 victory over Wombwell Main FC. The video was available via the club’s Twitter account but has since been deleted (we have a copy here). As the video starts, Ahmad Khan can be seen sitting at the table to the right, underneath the wall-mounted speaker:

Wakefield is, along with much of the North, a tier two area where the covid alert level is high. Along with the standard rules about handwashing, face coverings and social distancing, the government says:

“You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants”.

Ahmad Khan is clearly seen in the video socialising in an indoor venue with many others, while not wearing a mask and not socially distancing. The venue was a private function room at the Millennium Stadium, Featherstone.

He also tweeted his support for the club:

In his interview with the Wakefield Express, Ahmad Khan suggested that he was visiting a workplace in his official capacity, but others who attended the event with him have said, “The players and some supporters were sat in the bar/pub after the game finished”. Its unclear whether the MP was there with members of his household / bubble.

Organised sport is allowed in outdoor settings, though indoor sport must follow the rules on social contact. The government website explains what the penalties are for any breaches:

“You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000”.

Gov.uk guidance

This comes as the government threatens to impose lockdowns on parts of the North, despite resistance from local mayors and council leaders. It will be interesting to see what they think of this latest development.

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