Prime Minister Scott Morrison received a backlash earlier this week when it was revealed that he had visited a pub in the UK during the G7 summit while Australians are virtually banned from leaving the country.
It has now turned out that the Prime Minister and his entourage have found time to visit not just one pub in Cornwall, but three.
While US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel drank at a formal G7 dinner with the Queen, Mr. Morrison instead enjoyed a « proper English pub meal » at the Old Quay House Hotel, 60 km away.
Two days later he had a « cold beer and sandwich » at Three Tuns near Falmouth.
“Very nice,” said one person on the Old Quay House’s Facebook page after posting a picture of Mr Morrison and Australia’s High Commissioner for Great Britain, George Brandis, outside the pub.
He had previously been caught at the Jamaica Inn in Launceston, physically close to the pub staff and without wearing a mask, despite warnings of rising Covid-19 cases in the UK.
The anger in Australia was noticed in the UK. Local news website Cornwall Live described the bar outings as a « pub crawl » and that Mr Morrison did not « come back home » for his very public dinner plans while the Australians were « imprisoned ».
Australian residents can currently only fly overseas with government authorization, with the exception of New Zealand. The Prime Minister has given little indication of when Australians will be able to see their family again abroad and has suggested that vaccinations may not be enough to reopen the borders. Almost 30 percent of Australians were born abroad.
Last week, Mr Morrison flew to Cornwall to attend the G7 summit where he met with leaders from the wealthy democratic nations of the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
Mr Morrison later traveled to London to announce a free trade agreement with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, followed by a meeting with the Queen at Windsor Castle.
During his meeting with the Queen, Mr. Morrison told Her Majesty that she was « totally a hit » with the G7 leaders.
« So you were down there but I didn’t see you in Cornwall? » the Queen asked the Prime Minister.
As not a G7 member, Australia was not involved on the first day of the summit, Mr Morrison was not in the official G7 picture, nor was he a guest at the formal dinner the Queen was given at the attraction on Friday 11 June Eden Project hosted.
On the same night that the other leaders and royals were eating fish from the waters around Cornwall, followed by Cornish cheese and clotted cream fudge, Mr Morrison and his staff were at a meal at a pub in Hayle, west Cornwall a pint.
« We had the absolute privilege to have the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Australian High Commissioner for dinner last night at the Old Quay House, » read a post on the pub’s Facebook page with bright images of Mr Morrison and Mr Brandis .
« We were overjoyed that they wanted to stay local and enjoy a relaxing evening with us to try the delicacies of our real English pub food. »
Mr. Morrison also showed up at the Three Tuns in St. Keverne, 25 miles from the Carbis Bay Summit.
« We had a great honor yesterday afternoon to greet the Australian Prime Minister in Tuns for a cold pint and a sandwich … as well as the Australian High Commissioner for one of our Sunday roasts, » said the pub on Facebook, also with a picture from the PN.
Mr Morrison appeared in the Three Tuns after visiting a local churchyard to look at the grave of one of his ancestors, William Roberts, who was transported to Australia in the 18th century, the Falmouth Packet newspaper reported.
The owners of the Three Tuns, Trevor and Margaret Richards, said they were « thrilled » when police told them the Prime Minister and his « entourage » were going to have dinner.
« We expected him to dine in our private suite, but he firmly believed he wanted to eat in our bar area, which we thought was down to earth and great for our fellow guests. »
While many people welcomed the visit on the various pubs’ social media pages (« Hope he had a gooday [sic] mate, » one said), many Australians were less impressed with the multiple pub meals.
“I would like to go home and see my family in [Cornwall]. I’m stuck in Australia … can’t believe he’s there, « said one.
« Strolling around the pubs while Australians are stranded in the UK and cannot come home because the country is considered ‘unsafe’, » said another.
“Looks like a great restaurant! Unfortunately, it underscores the double standard. ScoMo is trying to tell Australians that the UK is riddled with Covid and if it hadn’t closed the borders completely we would all risk certain deaths, ”one commenter said.
« We are not allowed to leave and (families) are not allowed to come. Politicians and celebrities, however, travel freely. »
Last week, Mr Morrison cited the UK as an example of why a detailed plan for lifting travel restrictions could not be given.
“(In the UK) they have vaccination rates in the 1970s. And they have 4,000 cases a day, every day. 4,000 cases a day, ”Morrison told Perth radio station 6PR.
« If you are suggesting that we should move to a position where we can have 4,000 cases a day, then no, I don’t think the Australians would agree with you, » he said.
Mr Morrison made no mention of a comment from the UK’s National Health Service that most people who have been hospitalized in the past few weeks had not received a vaccination.
When asked by a journalist in the UK what percentage of Australians would need to be vaccinated before the trip could resume, the Prime Minister said « we have not flagged this ».
When it was postponed, when the journey could resume, he replied. « When medical advice suggests we should. »
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The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
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