Bob SeelyImage copyright
UK Parliament

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Mr Seely said he talked to the journalist for about 35 minutes “at a sensible distance”.

A Conservative MP has admitted he failed to follow lockdown guidance when he reportedly attended a barbecue.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely went to an evening gathering at a journalist’s home in Seaview on 22 May, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Mr Seely said he and his girlfriend met the man for a work-related discussion and ate “half a sausage”, but did not enter the house or have a drink.

The local Green Party said “islanders will rightly be furious”.

Mr Seely apologised, saying he should have left when he saw others were there.

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Vix Lowthion

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Green Party spokesperson Vix Lowthion said islanders would be “furious”

Calling for the MP to consider standing down, Green Party spokesperson Vix Lowthion said: “Thousands of his constituents have not seen their own grandchildren, parents and friends.

“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.”

At the time people could only meet one other person from another household at a distance in a public place.

Mr Seely, who is leading efforts to promote the trial of the Covid-19 contact-tracing app on the island, said the journalist had wanted to discuss the project with him.

‘Called this wrong’

In a statement, he said: “When I arrived, I saw another couple of people there, which I was not expecting. I thought about leaving, but felt that was perhaps over-reacting.

“I apologise because, on balance, I called this wrong. It would have been better to have spoken to this person without any others nearby.”

The MP said he talked to the journalist for about 35 minutes “at a sensible distance”.

He added his girlfriend had accompanied him because it was “after normal working hours”.

Asked later on Isle of Wight Radio whether the event was a barbecue, he replied: “I think I probably had half a sausage… but did not treat it as a social event because I was there for work.”

The Home Office said it would not comment on an individual and reiterated current guidance was “for everyone”.

The Cabinet Office has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment.

Current rules, after lockdown was further eased on 28 May, allow groups of up to six people from different households to meet in private gardens.

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