Top Sky News staff have been suspended from the broadcaster for breaching COVID-19 protocols, with news anchor Kay Burley being stood down for six months.

Burley tweeted: "It doesn't matter that I thought I was Covid-compliant at a recent event. The fact is I was wrong, I made a big mistake and I am sorry."

The channel said in a statement that "a small number of Sky News staff attended a social event in London on Saturday evening during which COVID-19 guidelines were breached".

Following an internal review by the broadcaster Burley "has agreed to be off air for six months" while others in attendance including political editor Beth Rigby and correspondent Inzamam Rashid have agreed to be off air for three months.

Burley explained: "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."

She continued: "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."

Sky News has been on the frontline of COVID-19 coverage thought 2020 and before the suspensions were announced Sky News editor-at-large Adam Boulton said the incident threatened to undermine the "credibility of our journalism".

Boulton said: “My view is that Sky has worked very hard during the whole COVID crisis and has taken a very clear line about public safety, and obviously something like this perhaps underlines [the importance of] that.”

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All those involved regret the incident and have apologised.

Sky News added that the guidelines is expected to comply with the rules and the company takes breaches like this very seriously indeed.

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