District Council Leader issues “Stay Local” warning while on holiday in Maldives

Issued by the Leader of the ruling Independent Group.

No – it’s not Paul Arnott, or any other Devon Councillor!

Read on. – Owl

The Northern Echo Staff www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

A COUNCIL leader has come under fire after issuing a ‘stay local’ warning to constituents, while on holiday thousands of miles away in the Maldives.

Angie Dale, leader of Richmondshire District Council, was quoted in a press release sent out on Friday urging people to ‘heed the stay local message’ amid surging Covid cases in the area.

But it has now emerged at the time Mrs Dale and her family were enjoying the crystal waters of the Indian ocean from a beach on the Maldivian island of Kudahuvadhoo.

It is understood the politician has not broken any rules and left for the holiday before the national lockdown came into place, and when North Yorkshire was in Tier 2.

The joint press release was issued by Mrs Dale’s Richmondshire District Council, neighbouring Craven District Council and North Yorkshire police on Friday.

Each was quoted under the headline: ‘People urged to Stay Home and Stay Local – don’t travel to exercise.’

Mrs Dale, leader of the ruling independent group, said: “The number of Covid cases is rising dramatically every day and we are told we haven’t reached the peak yet, so it is vitally important that people heed the stay local message.

“Our beautiful Dales will still be here to visit when this pandemic is over – please do not make unnecessary journeys now and exercise close to your home.”

Tonight, opposition members of Richmondshire District Council said it was “disappointing” and “hypocritical” of Cllr Dale to issue the statement whilst abroad.

Councillor Leslie Rowe, leader of The Green Party and Independent group on the authority, said: “It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy to be issuing that press release when in the Maldives, having flown from Manchester which I believe meant moving from a Tier 3 to Tier 4 area in itself.

“I don’t know who would go on holiday to the Maldives at this time of such severe Covid crisis, there are so many people catching it at the moment.

“As the leader of a district council she should be setting an example for the rest of us.

“I personally would not dream of going on holiday at a time of national crisis.”

Councillor Yvonne Peacock, Conservative Group leader on the authority, said: “It is disappointing to learn she is away.

“The case numbers in Richmondshire, and the upper Dales, have gone up.

“Residents are concerned, there is a lot of fear, businesses are closed because of lockdown.

“It hasn’t been a good time and to hear the leader of Richmondshire District Council is not even in the country does not look good and does not bode well for her.”