A former Welsh Secretary has deleted a photo of a visit to Santa’s Grotto that wasn’t socially distanced and where he wasn’t wearing a mask.
Alun Cairns, the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, dropped to see Father Christmas at the Ewenny Village Shop in Bridgend over the weekend. He is seen to be holding a mask in his hand.
The photo, that was posted to his Facebook account, was deleted following concerns that were raised by members of the public.
The visit took place as cases of the deadly virus has been surging in Wales and threatening to overwhelm the health service. The rate in the seven days to 8 December was 425 cases per 100,000, which is the worst in the UK.
The Vale of Glamorgan council has shared figures on for December 13 that showed the rolling seven-day average to be at 344.3 per 100k of population between December 3 and December 9.
According to the regulations in Wales, face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places.
This includes on public transport and taxis, and in places where food and drink is served, other than when you are seated to eat or drink. This applies to everyone aged 11 and over unless an exception applies.
It is advised to maintain social distancing, both indoors and outdoors. It is within the rules for MPs to visit constituents because it is considered to be for work purposes.
One angry member of the public commenting on the picture asked: “We have family and friends sick with covid which is rife in this area and this is allowed?
“Our family have just cancelled our planned Christmas (even within the rules unlike this) and I am gutted. Turned anger.
“I forgot I live in tory land – one rule for them and another for the rest of us! This is indoors and not two meters. So is he and Santa super spreaders?”
Mr Cairns, shared a photo of the visit with a caption that said: “Look who called into Ewenny Village Shop this weekend! The shop is at the heart of the village and organised a visit from Santa in their specially designed outdoor Grotto.
“All children had appointments, which goes to show how far the shop goes to ensure no one misses out!”
Mr Cairns resigned as a UK Government minister following a row about what he knew about the role of an aide in “sabotaging” a rape trail.
Since leaving the ministerial post Mr Cairns has landed additional jobs. The Vale of Glamorgan MP will make £15,000-a-year by providing “strategic advice” to private hire taxi operator Veezu, the register of MPs’ interest shows.
That came just two months after Nation.Cymru revealed Cairns had accepted a £15,000-a-year job as an advisor to the BBI Group, a firm working on Covid-19 tests.
And it means the former secretary of state for Wales now earns more from his side jobs than the average annual earnings of workers across Wales (£25,680) or in his constituency (£28,022).
His total earnings are at least £121,932-a-year when his £81,932 MPs’ salary and income from a rental property in Cardiff are taken into account.
His commitment of up to 70 hours to each role also means he could spend the equivalent of three and a half working weeks on his outside interests.
Alun Cairns has been approached for comment.