‘Furious’ Sky News bosses have told presenter Kay Burley to take extended leave, and could keep her off the air until next year, after she admitted breaking coronavirus rules, according to reports.
Bosses hooked the Sky News presenter at the 11th hour last night, ahead of her usual morning slot, after she admitted ‘inadvertently’ breaching Tier 2 restrictions while celebrating her 60th birthday over the weekend.
The veteran journalist was replaced by presenter Sarah Hewson on her normal 7am to 10am slot.
Sky News chiefs also last night announced they had launched an internal investigation into her behaviour.
But reports now suggest that Ms Burley could face a longer spell on the sidelines while they probe the incident.
According to the Sun, the presenter will now be off air for the rest of the week, and is ‘unlikely’ to return on air until 2021.
A source told the paper: ‘The Sky News bosses were absolutely furious at Kay.
‘Furious’ Sky News bosses have told presenter Kay Burley to take extended leave, and could keep her off the air until next year, after she admitted breaking coronavirus rules, it has been reported
The journalist claims she used a toilet at 11pm in a different restaurant while waiting for a taxi
‘She should know better and they told her as such. They’ve told her she’s off-air for the foreseeable. It looks like it will be 2021 before she’s back.’
Ms Burley did not appear on air to host her TV show this morning after admitting to breaking coronavirus rules.
The 59-year-old presenter’s absence from her usual morning slot follows her apology for her ‘error of judgment’.
Ms Burley yesterday admitted she ‘inadvertently broke the rules’ while celebrating her upcoming 60th birthday over the weekend.
Sky News has launched an internal probe into her conduct after she said she spent Saturday night at a ‘Covid-compliant restaurant’ in London but admitted to flouting Tier 2 restrictions by using a toilet in another venue while waiting for a taxi home at 11pm.
She apologised on Twitter last night after Guido Fawkes reported a ‘group of ten’ including Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby, Inzamam Rashid and Sam Washington celebrated Ms Burley’s 60th at private members’ club Century Club in Soho.
Sky News broadcaster Kay Burley (pictured left) was replaced on her morning TV show by journalist Sarah Hewson (pictured right on Sky News this morning) after apologising last night for ‘inadvertently’ breaking coronavirus regulations while out celebrating her 60th birthday
Ms Hewson announced on Twitter that she would be presenting the morning Sky News slot shortly after Ms Burley’s apology last night
Guido claims that a ‘smaller group’ then went on to the nearby Soho restaurant Folie as the 11pm curfew came into effect, before four of the original party ended the night at Ms Burley’s home in west London.
Inzamam Rashid and former Sky News employee Paul Harrison, who now works for Huawei, were reportedly in the group-of-four at Ms Burley’s house.
Ms Burley is understood to have blamed the situation on ‘misunderstandings’ in planning and organising the event, the Guardian reports.
However, she has not addressed why people returned to her home after the dinner – a claim not thought to be in dispute.
All of the Sky staff who ‘may’ have been involved are now facing a review of their conduct by their employer, which said it was ‘disappointed’ by the incident.
Ms Hewson announced on Twitter that she would be presenting the morning Sky News slot shortly after Ms Burley’s apology.
While hosting Ms Burley’s usual news programme, Ms Hewson discussed the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine and Brexit with Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Though she did not confirm where she had celebrated her birthday, Ms Burley apologised amid reports that she went to swanky private members’ club Century Club in Soho
The veteran journalist said that she spent Saturday night at a ‘Covid-compliant restaurant’ in London before flouting Tier 2 restrictions by using a toilet in another restaurant at 11pm
How Kay Burley has held others to account over coronavirus rule breaches
Kay Burley previously tore into cabinet minister Michael Gove after he appeared on Sky News to defend Dominic Cummings for breaking coronavirus restrictions.
The former aide to Boris Johnson had driven a 60-mile round trip to Barnard Castle from his Durham home earlier this year, breaking Covid lockdown restrictions at the time.
He claimed he drove to the local beauty spot to test his eyesight after experiencing loss of vision due to coronavirus.
In the Sky News interview Ms Burley asked Mr Gove: ‘If you are struggling with Covid-19 and you think you have a problem with your eyesight, what is the government advice?’
Mr Gove replied: ‘We advise people obviously to seek medical advice.’
Ms Burley responded: ‘So it is not to get in a car and drive half an hour with your four-year-old strapped in the back?’
The presenter, who has since apologised for breaking Tier 2 Covid restrictions, also previously mocked Cummings on Twitter.
In July she wrote: ‘So. Ibiza thwarted. Anyone know somewhere welcoming to stay in Barnard Castle?’
Sky political editor Beth Rigby, who reportedly attended Ms Burley’s birthday dinner on Saturday – although it is not confirmed she broke any coronavirus rules in doing so – also previously criticised Cummings.
During a press conference in the Downing Street rose garden in May she told Cummings: ‘Why are you so different?
‘What people see here is that there’s one rule for you… and another rule for them.
‘Do you think that you, at the very least, owe them an apology?’
A spokesperson for Sky said: ‘We place the highest importance on complying with the government guidelines on COVID, and we expect all our people to comply.
‘We were disappointed to learn that a small number of Sky News staff may have engaged in activity that breached the guidelines.
‘Although this took place at a social event in personal time, we expect all our people to follow the rules that are in place for everyone.
‘An internal process is underway to review the conduct of the people involved.’
Under Tier 2 restrictions, households are not allowed to gather indoors unless a one-person household forms a support bubble with another – but outdoor gatherings of six people are permitted.
Ms Burley has interrogated politicians for their perceived defence of breaches of shutdown restrictions by government officials.
After Neil Ferguson was forced to resign from the Government for flouting rules to enjoy secret trysts with his lover, she asked Matt Hancock: ‘What did you think when you read it? Did you bang your head on the desk?’
In May, Ms Burley interrogated Michael Gove over his defence of Dominic Cummings’ lockdown-flouting trip to Barnard Castle.
She also chastised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for not social distancing on Twitter.
About a picture of Johnson with Conservative MP for Ashfield Lee Anderson, who later tested positive for Covid resulting in the PM having to self-isolate, she wrote: ‘Doesn’t look like two shopping trolleys apart to me.’
Last night, the Sky News broadcaster told her 517,000 followers on Twitter that she was ’embarrassed’ by her behaviour, which she described as an ‘error of judgment’.
She said: ‘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.’
It comes after it emerged pop star Rita Ora did not self-isolate for 14 days after flying to Egypt for an event.
The 30-year-old singer flew by private jet to Cairo on November 21 to perform at the five-star W Hotel. She returned the next day and under Government quarantine rules should have self-isolated for 14 days.
Instead, she threw a birthday party on November 28 at the exclusive Casa Cruz restaurant in Notting Hill, west London.
According to the website Guido Fawkes, Sky talent Beth Rigby celebrated Ms Burley’s 60th
Sky colleagues Inzamam Rashid (left) and Sam Washington (right) also reportedly joined in
Ms Ora was forced to apologise last week after she and around 30 guests were photographed at the event before the end of the second national lockdown on Wednesday.
Cara and Poppy Delevingne as well as TOWIE star Vas Morgan, 31, and Rita’s sister Elena, 32, were all seen at the venue.
While the singer said she was ‘deeply sorry’ for her actions and offered to pay a £10,000 fine for hosting the party, she did not mention her trip to Egypt or breaking a second set of strict rules.