Seely’s Seaview BBQ lockdown breach: The public react (updated)

Breach of his own government’s own guidance, Bob Seely attended a BBQ in Seaview – that we now know. Here we’ve gathered some of the public reaction, since the news broke – tl;dr: They’re not happy

Bob Seely arrives

Just a few weeks ago Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely was all over the national media after the Island was chosen to trial the Coronavirus Contact Tracing App, but he has now been outed for breaching lockdown rules by attending a barbeque at another person’s house.

After The Guardian broke the story on Friday, Bob Seely admitted visiting a Seaview property with his girlfriend, after being invited by The Spectator magazine’s deputy editor, Freddy Gray, over the May bank holiday weekend.

The Government guidelines at the time were clear, the public should not visit other people’s homes or spend time with people outside their household, other than one person in public spaces such as beaches or parks.

Seely said he was undertaking constituency work in Seaview and agreed to visit someone who wanted to discuss the App.

DFL
That someone has turned out to be Gray, who had published an article at the start of May questioning if the Island was the right place to launch the Contact Tracing App. Included in that, Mr Gray said,

“I should admit that I am one of the dreaded ‘DFL’ (Down From London) visitors, whom most Islanders despise.”

Tice and Oakeshott make light of the breach
Also attending the gathering were Brexit party chairman, Richard Tice, and his partner, political journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who was staying at what The Guardian reported as her second home on the Island.

In their comments to The Guardian, both Tice and Oakeshott made light of the breach, adding that they regularly tested their eyesight.

Islanders are angry
This has turned into a very large national story, so what do Islanders make of it?

The general feeling by people on the Isle of Wight seems to be one of great anger. With some people who are normally supportive of Seely finding his actions reprehensible.

They have all been unable to see their friends and family during lockdown, so to hear their MP hasn’t been observing the same restrictions, they feel wronged.

In response to Dominic Cummings travelling 260 miles to Durham to see his parents during lockdown, Seely had said, “his [Cummings’] explanation seemed entirely reasonable, so I hope we can now move on”.

Seely apologises
Mr Seely has today (Saturday) issued a statement in which he apologises for his “lapse in judgement”. But that doesn’t seem to have quelled the situation as can be seen from the 200+ responses to Seely’s tweet.

“Stay at home” was Seely’s public message
Seely’s previous pinned tweet (the tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter account) was the Stay at Home message, now replaced by his statement above.

Calls for resignation
There have been countless calls for Mr Seely’s resignation and a petition has been launched, attracting over 990 signatures at time of publishing.

Below are just a small selection of tweets over the last 24 hours discussing Seely’s actions.

New focus for satirical jokesters
Across social media Bob Seely has become the butt of many people’s jokes, spurring creativity from IW Can Depress.

Political reactions
Richard Quigley, Island Labour’s parliamentary candidate in the 2019 general election, told News OnTheWight,

“I’m disappointed more than outraged, disappointed for all of you that did the right thing and stayed home, didn’t see friends, ‘did your duty’ in downloading the app, and followed the advice. You made a difference.

“Thank you for sticking with it, even when those leading us didn’t.”

Green: No wonder Seely refused to condemn Cummings’ behaviour
Vix Lowthion, IW Green Party spokesperson said,

“Islanders will rightly be furious to read that our MP broke lockdown rules through going to a BBQ with journalists at their second home on the Island on Bank Holiday weekend.

“Bob Seely did not accidently trip and fall into a Seaview BBQ. Whether he stayed for one or two sausages is immaterial. He knowingly went with his partner to someone’s else’s home, and stayed for social chit chat. This was completely against the guidelines at the time to only meet one other person in a public park.

“Meanwhile, thousands of his constituents have not seen their own grandchildren, parents and friends. We have followed his government’s guidelines and instructions, because it was our duty and we wanted to protect lives.

“No wonder Mr Seely refused to condemn Dominic Cummings’ behaviour in Durham – because he knew that he had broken the rules too. Bob Seely needs to consider if he believes there is one rule for him and one for the rest of us, and whether those who break the national guidelines should continue to serve as an MP at all.”

LibDem: Bob’s actions showed appalling judgement
Nick Stuart, Leader of the Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats, told News OnTheWight,

“Bob’s a bit of a disappointment and his behaviour and explanation for Barbeque-gate are ridiculous. I won’t call for his resignation as MP as he clearly can’t see why. I’ll just leave it to Islanders who have struggled through this lockdown to make their own judgements. He might have followed the rules on many occasions, but when it suited he was happy to ignore them. No wonder he failed to condemn Dominic Cummings.

“The Public response to this virus has been fantastic with the vast majority following the guidelines in spite of the hardship that has caused to so many people. Bob talks a good game and during the pandemic he has encouraged people to obey lockdown and encouraged second homeowners to obey the guidelines and stay away.

“Bob’s actions however in taking his other half to the second home of visitors, meeting several people and breaking the lockdown legal guidance showed appalling judgement. He then stayed for long enough to spread the virus! I’m sure his pals won’t worry, but I suspect a large number of Islanders will remember his actions over his words.”

Love: Contradicts the Stay at Home message
Another prospective parliamentary candidate in the 2019 general election, Cllr Karl Love, got in touch with News OnTheWight to say,

“During a Zoom meeting of the Coronavirus 19 Support Hubs, in response to my questions about second homeowners visiting the Island, Cllr Clare Mosdell stated, ‘Bob Seely is in weekly meetings with ferry operators and it was not true that second home owners and caravans were coming to the Island and Bob would not lie about this’.

“But here he is a meeting with second home owners and Mr Seely enjoying their company at their second homes?  This completely contradicts the message which our Island Tory administration are putting out – Stay at Home and Stay Away from our Island. We will let you know when it’s safe to visit.”

Pugh on Cummings: “Episode is highly regrettable”
After the May bank holiday when it was revealed that Government special advisor, Dominic Cummings, had travelled with his wife and child 260 miles to Durham, and subsequently drove 30miles to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eye sight’, David Pugh, chair of the Isle of Wight Conservative Association,  had said,

“I appreciate that this issue has attracted a lot of interest, comment, concern and – in some quarters – anger.

“I think the whole episode is highly regrettable, and I am concerned that the recent statements made by both the PM and Mr Cummings have evidently not brought closure to this matter. We will have to see what the next few days bring us.”

Pugh: “Bob’s swift apology is welcome and allows us to move on”
News OnTheWight asked Mr Pugh for his views on the Seely affair

He said,

“As you can imagine, I have spoken with Bob about this. As he has acknowledged, once he realised that other people were there, he should have left – or spoken to this person without any others nearby.Bob has apologised for this lapse in judgment, as reiterated in his subsequent statement today.

“I have not, thus far, been contacted by a single Conservative member about this issue specifically. I have, however, spoken with a few members over the past 24 hours about more general matters and this has, as you would expect, been mentioned.

“The view amongst all I have spoken with is that Bob’s swift apology is welcome and allows us to move on. Having seen first-hand the work that Bob is currently doing in supporting the Island’s response to coronavirus (as referenced in his statement) I have encouraged him to now redouble his efforts on this front.”

News OnTheWight has written to Isle of Wight council leader, Dave Stewart for his reaction and will update once we hear back.


Government Covid-19 guidance: Stay alert and stay safe
Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently (video tips).

Social distancing
It is recommended that you maintain at least a two metre gap (about 6.5ft) from people who are not from your household.

Seeking advice
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service that can tell if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Article edit
11pm 6th June 2020 – Comment from Nick Stuart added

Image: © With kind permission of Allan Marsh

Saturday, 6th June, 2020 6:42pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2nIk

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Politics, Top story

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72 Comments on "Seely’s Seaview BBQ lockdown breach: The public react (updated)"

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Rhos yr Alarch

Hardly on the scale of another much-publicised infringement, but the narrative is no more plausible. What were two London journalists doing in Seaview in lockdown, more to the point!

Steve Goodman
Well done Dom, Bob, Boris and friends. We will all die, and when we do we may die with the latest virus. We don’t like living the way they say we (but not they) have to in response to the virus, but if instead we want to help them ‘level up the country’ we all have their their lead to follow, and the get out of jail… Read more »
Chiverton Paul
Mr Seely has been elected into a civic post to represent this community. With that comes the expectation that he will lead by example and uphold the highest standards of the office. His actions were calculated and deliberate. He also aided and abetted the hosts actions which were also in contravention of council guidelines not to visit second homes on the island. Mr Seely should be aware… Read more »
Patterson

It is difficult to imagine anything more disrespectful to island constituents, many of whom will have lost loved ones to Covid-19, than for our island MP Bob Seely flagrantly breaking the lockdown rules.

alisonjane
What an absolute hypocrite! The whole country is run by elite, public school boys who think they are above everyone else. Some of us have not seen our children or grandchildren for eleven weeks because of government instructions…and you just undo that in one foul swoop. What an insult to all of us doing as we were told. I hope your half a sausage was worth it… Read more »
eastc
The Guardian story about BBQ Bob quotes his holiday home chums saying they quite enjoyed testing their eyesight on the island. Ha ha what jolly jape fun taking the p*** out of lockdown rules. His host also says he enjoyed two sausages at the family event, contrary to what ‘Half a sausage’ Seely claims. Reminds me of Animal Farm (BBQ Bob must have read it as he… Read more »
uosf9

Interesting to note,Cumming’s wife just happens to work for the Spectator too,and Pugh’s response is as great a piece of arslikan I’ve seen this year.

henry

Bob Seely has said, ‘I called it wrong’. No, you deliberately and knowingly got it wrong and thought you wouldn’t be found out.

Saying, ‘I called it wrong’, is a perfect illustration of your arrogance and belief you are somehow superior and above everyone else. You are not.

newman

Nice summary OTW. A pity it’s such a shameful tale of elitism from our MP. It’s no surprise he has not resigned, he’s led by the arch dissembler Dominic Cummings.

Nitonia
Pathetic excuse for pathetic behaviour. Seely the sausage would have been absolutely fully aware that the person he was visiting (Freddy Gray of The Spectator) was staying at a second home which was clearly in breech of the lockdown rules at that time. Armed with this knowledge he and his “girlfriend” decided to show up at this house in breech of the lockdown rules at the time.… Read more »
chartman

Reminds me of someone in a similar ‘high position’ in society that claims to be on the vulnerable list due to health yet is happy to have flouted all the guidelines/regulations.Pity someone didn’t dob them in.

Benny C

Pity you didn’t have the presence of mind to do it yourself.

chartman
It was considered…. but knowing the person, WW2 would have erupted.Would I have been believed ? Probably not. It would have needed immediate investigation and the police are too busy sending 6 cars to investigate a single vehicle crash…If the police had subsequently gone round , they would have denied it and it would be my word against theirs. One needs irrefutable evidence against someone like this.… Read more »
Benny C

I think that tells everyone all they need to know.

fedupbritain

“And by the time the sheep had quieted down, the chance to utter any protest had passed, for the pigs had marched back into the farmhouse.”

sculler

Seely did wrong and then apologised which is an improvement. Then he tries to mitigate his actions. Why, it sounds mealy mouthed at the very least. Take it on the chin and learn from it. Half a sausage is the same as slightly pregnant

attilathepun

That’s a worry. I like sausages.

elliosho

The answer is easy, sack him

Spartacus

Pure and simple get rid.

kerry

Bob Seely sells out his constituents for half a sausage, one would like to say unbelievable, but it’s not.

Alternative Perspective
Whilst Dominic Cummings and Bob Seely both broke the lockdown rules, there is an important difference. Dominic Cummings is hired by the government as an advisor and not elected by the people, whereas Bob Seely was elected by many of his island constituents, with that honour comes responsibility. During the last General Election Bob Seely said, ‘judge me by what I do, not by what I say’.… Read more »
Rhos yr Alarch

Unfortunately although Dominic Cummings is unelected he is incalculably more powerful than a mere Bob Seely. We learn today that three cabinet ministers are under threat of dismissal for refraining from supporting Cummings on social media. I hardly think Seely would warrant such an honour….!

uosf9

I’ve just had a thought about the sausages,half or otherwise-prick with a fork.

planespeaker
For all the reasons stated Seely must go. He has revealed his true character in the most spectacular way and ruined any chance he may have thought he had of promotion to the upper echelons of the Bullingdon Club government. His credibility is shot with the majority of voters and we must not forget this appalling behaviour. If he does not have the decency to resign now,… Read more »
Spartacus
He has no conscience and had no hesitation in his actions, forget the apology Mr Pugh it’s not good enough and no we wont move on, he should resign as it’s not the only thing he is guilty of i.e. imposing an app for the wrong reasons leading residents into a false sense of security with the aim in reopening the Island for profit and compromising residents… Read more »
jarundel

Fascinating that Mr Seely chose to break the rules, despite the presence of journalists. How hypocritical of our MP and of the journalists. Disappointing but unsurprising.

Justin Case
We cannot rely on Bob Seely to help discourage second-homers and visitors from flouting the lockdown rules. It’s up to us to make things uncomfortable for them and tell them to go home. The reason that the incident of Covid-19 is increasing on the Island is because of these people. As I’ve pointed out before over his response to the Dominic Cummings ‘Oh me eyes!’ incident, Bob… Read more »
alisonjane

I am guessing that lots of the down arrows are from the Tory boys closing ranks around Half Sausage Seely?
Lots of comments about losing loved ones and not seeing family are being so disrespectfully down arrowed, like it is of no consequence to them at all.
Elite, privileged, public school boys at their worst.
Most commenting in favour of him won’t (for some reason) use their own names!

davimel
Whilst Cummins did what he did for his family and for safety reasons, and NOT for a BBQ there is absolutely NO excuse for Seely. His excuse?? I ‘happened’ to be in the area, I ‘happened’ to get invited, I ‘happened’ to be about to clock off, I ‘happened’ to be with my girlfriend….. whilst the rest of us just ‘happen’ to be fed up and bored… Read more »
chippy2

The saddest thing about this is that he doesn’t realise if you mix with journalists you might become the story.

Mark L Francis

I understand that the Mail on Sunday tried to find anyone who has been notified they had CV19 & could only find the one – Bob Seely’s girlfriend.
Is this a good time to go to a BBQ with the cream of the nation’s Tory journos?

Angela Hewitt
Unfortunately this is about a deadly virus and I have made my anger about government incompetence clear on OTW. That apart I find that the world of politics or rather that the world politicians provide some of the funniest comedy shows on earth. To watch them flounder and squirm and rubbish themselves is hilarious. Don’t politicians realise that the press is out to get them! Someone mentioned… Read more »
Spartacus

Who votes for these people

planespeaker

Who eats half a sausage at a barbecue you ask? A halfwit.

Rhos yr Alarch

Who eats half a sausage at a barbecue? Presumbly someone who judges that the level of incrimination is directly proportionate to the amount of sausage eaten…

Alternative Perspective

10% of the worlds 400,000 coronavirus deaths have occurred in the U.K. (40,000)

That’s world beating…….and that’s why your actions Bob were thoughtless.

newman

A sad statistic if there ever was one. But I think you’re being too generous – Bob wasn’t thoughtless, he knew what he was doing but didn’t expect to get caught.

alisonjane

Independent estimates put the death toll at 60,000 as the government were only recording deaths in hospital with a positive Covid 19 test result for over a month!
Strange too how when the UK beat Italy’s death toll comparisons between countries were stopped being shown on the daily Covid 19 update……or Party Political Broadcast By The Liars as it is now known.

attilathepun

Independent estimates? Such as who?
Lots of stuff about the official figures being an overestimate.

alisonjane
The UK reached a grim milestone in its battle with coronavirus on Tuesday, as the death toll passed 50,000, according to official figures. The tally comes 10 weeks after the nation went into lockdown and confirms Britain’s status as one of the countries worst hit by a pandemic that has claimed about 375,000 lives globally. The UK death toll is higher than the other worst-affected countries in… Read more »
alisonjane
The above does not include the numbers throughout February and March that died, as only deaths in a hospital setting, who had a positive Covid test were being counted. Deaths from Dementia and Alziemers Disease have also been 25% higher from March until June, probably meaning that they died from Covid 19 but, because of their confusion caused by these diseases were unable to convey their symptoms.
attilathepun

Mark me down for asking for your sources! Ha!
And before you ask, the overestimates stuff is to do with Covid being on the birth certificate, and therefore in the ONS figures, when it was not the cause of death.

peterj
“Covid being on the birth certificate” Oh deary me, you are in a muddle! One of the sources for excess deaths is that well-known left-wing unreliable news organisation the Financial Times. I find it fascinating how you ‘know’ that so many causes of death have been fabricated. That seems completely sane and rational to me. It is far more likely that there has been underreporting, especially in… Read more »
attilathepun

Here we go:
“COVID deaths – how accurate are the statistics?” by Dr Malcolm Kendrick. He is a doctor who has actually been filling in the death certificates. I suppose he might know something about it?
https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/

attilathepun

Well, I answered this earlier, but the moderator didn’t like my answer.
Look up Dr Malcolm Kendrick and see what he says about the stats.

henry

I can hear the heckling now whenever Bob Seely appears in public, ‘SAUSAGE’!

kerry

I m always amused by the Minister for Health proudly wearing an NHS lapel badge, which rapidly changed to a CARE badge when the scandal of Coronavirus deaths in Care Homes broke in the news.

I’m wondering, will Bob Seely be wearing a half sausage lapel badge when he returns to Westminster?

attilathepun
All these well-connected and presumably well-informed people breaking the lockdown rules does rather suggest that they think the virus isn’t quite the plague that we have been led to believe. Which seems quite likely when you read people like Michael Levitt and John Ioannidis (Stanford University). The latter estimates the death rate is less than 0.4%, about the same as ordinary, seasonal flu. Against which one also… Read more »
Justin Case
Here are some sobering figures that you might like to mull over before you draw your conclusions. According to the Office of National Statistics there were 49,353 excess deaths above the 5-year average in England and Wales just between 13 March and 8 May. The percentage of people who die from coronavirus is not fully understood, but one percent seems likely. Doesn’t sound like much, does it?… Read more »
traveller

You should be ashamed Mr Seely. Mocking your constituents and happily walking around shopping in places like Freshwater walking past people with no regard for their health while they obey the rules to safeguard the community. I know its not the modern way but be honourable and do the right thing. Step down now

attilathepun

Could anyone here who wants the lockdown to continue give a rough figure of how many million unemployed people they are prepared to accept? I ask because I get the impression that some people focus only on the virus without considering the lockdown’s human cost. But pretty evidently both need to be considered.

newman

The immediate problem is Covid-19 killing people. The unemployed could be looked after although I do get that Tories have a very bad record on looking after the unemployed. How many daily deaths would you be prepared to accept as the cost of relaxing the lockdown?

attilathepun

You see what I mean? You just can’t see past the virus.

newman

I do apologise for worrying about people dying.

susan

Half a sausage Bob is the man for me!

henry

I’m sorry, but who eats half a sausage at a BBQ?

Angela Hewitt

Henry I think Susan was aiming at sarcasm

susan

I’ve always thought of Bob Seely as half a sausage Angela, and now he’s confirmed it.

wellsm

He admits he made a mistake, he apologised. Nothing further so say, move on.

bfmunchkin
How many more times is this story going to change? It happened 2 weeks ago, shortly after some of the restrictions were lifted. He did nothing wrong as the rules stated that you could now meet some people outside of your household. Most of those tweets from people complaining are from fake accounts set up by the fixed link brigade. Forget it, Bob Seely won’t resign as… Read more »
wighton
Nope – the rule was the much talked about you could meet ONE person from outside your household outside. There were plenty of questions going about that you could meet with your mum OR your dad, but not both of them together. There was also a lot of talk about not meeting at each others’ houses or gardens, but in open public spaces. He broke the rules,… Read more »
bfmunchkin

No, you are getting confused with the rules from March, they were relaxed slightly in May which Bob Seely followed correctly.

alisonjane

Nope, you were not permitted to go to Soirees in Seaview ever!
(Unless you were a member of the elite, privileged, public school boy gang and only having half a sausage with the DFL brigade.)
From June 1st you were permitted to visit in people’s gardens, which was announced on May 28th.

block8

The third paragraph at the top of this story is quite clear and simple;

“The Government guidelines at the time were clear, the public should not visit other people’s homes or spend time with people outside their household, other than one person in public spaces such as beaches or parks.”

Stop trying to argue against the facts. You are incorrect.

newman

Are you indulging in a bit of gaslighting bfmunchkin? How very Tory of you.

Spartacus

Lead by example, he didn’t so should be sacked which gives a clear message

wighton

Wrong again, bfmunchkin. The lockdown started 23 March and it wasn’t until May that you were allowed to see one person from outside your household in a public space. Clearly you have a selective memory or slept through April.

georgegm

Why is it that poor old Bob (who is probably the best MP we have had for years) is castigated for going to a BBQ two weeks ago with
a few friends when, as we speak, thousands of people are marching through London, coughing and spreading germs over each other in a “protest” over something that happened thousands of miles away.

Spartacus

Best MP we’ve ever had? excuse me for falling about laughing but it isn’t funny Bob Seely should lead by example, he didn’t just like some of his Tory boy colleagues who think they can do what they like and then have the audacity in instructing the rest of us how to conduct our lives.

georgegm
Why is poor old Bob (who is probably the best MP we have had for years) castigated for going to a BBQ two weeks ago when thousands of people are marching in London coughing and spreading disease over each other “protesting” about an event thousands of miles away. And didn’t Mr Kinnocks son travel miles to his dad’s birthday party. I don’t remember any protests about that.… Read more »
newman

Nice whataboutism there georgegm.

georgegm

You what ?