Sport Minister takes selfies with TeamGB's heroes after Japan arrival

EXCLUSIVE: One rule for them! Sport Minister Nigel Huddleston is slammed for taking selfies with TeamGB’s stars just hours after arriving in Japan – while ALL other visitors must isolate

  • Nigel Huddleston, Sport Minister and Tory MP, landed in Japan on Friday July 31  
  • Within hours of arriving in Tokyo, he embarked on a vanity tour meeting athletes 
  • He watched TeamGB in the 4 by 100m swimming relay, he met BMX gold medalist Bethany Shriever, then saw BMX star Charlotte Worthington win gold
  • Next he watched British super heavy-weight boxer Frazer Clarke reach the semi final and finally he saw Max Whitlock win gold in the men’s Pommel Horse
  • Japan is in a state of emergency with Covid cases surging and so visitors to the country are subjected to draconian isolation periods
  • However, a spokesman for the Department for Culture Media and Sport said Mr Huddleston travelled under a diplomatic exemption from quarantine

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston is under fire for arriving in Japan and going straight out to pose for grinning selfies with TeamGB’s Olympic heroes – while other visitors to the country must isolate. 

The MP arrived from the UK on Saturday July 31 and headed straight out to cheer on  British athletes who were going for gold.

With Tokyo in a state of emergency amid surging coronavirus cases, draconian protocols mean athletes had to quarantine for three days after arriving in Japan – while officials and journalists are banned from leaving their hotel rooms for six days.

All other visitors to the country must isolate for 14 days. Even families of athletes are banned, and ordinary spectators are not allowed into stadiums. 

Today a spokesman for the Department for Culture Media and Sport said Mr Huddleston had not broken any rules because he had travelled under a diplomatic exemption from quarantine.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston tweeted this picture of him posing with Sally Munday from UK Sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics 4 by 100metres swimming relay final won by TeamGB 

The Tory MP also met BMX gold medalist Bethany Shriever and Kye White, who won silver 

Mr Huddleston found time to pose for this picture of him watching BMX star Charlotte Worthington win the gold medal despite only arriving in the country hours afterwards

But despite that, his behaviour was criticised in Covid-hit Japan with one lawyer saying ‘This is extremely serious’.  

No sooner had the minister touched down on Friday than his vanity tour of Tokyo2020 events began. 

First he went to the Tokyo Aquatics Centre where he reveled in the glory of TeamGB gold medal in the mixed 4x 100m relay.

Mr Huddleston is MP for Mid Worcestershire

Writing on his blog: ‘On my first morning in Tokyo, the Gold rush continues with first place finishes for Team GB in mixed triathlon team and mixed relay swimming.

‘I felt privileged to witness our incredible swimmers win their gold medal, only a few hours after arriving in Tokyo.’

Next he met up with BMX racing champions Bethany Shriever who won a gold medal and Kye Whyte who won silver. He said: ‘On my first evening I was delighted to be able to personally congratulate Kye Whyte and Beth Shriever on their historic medals in BMX.’

Then on Sunday morning he was at the BMX free-style track where he watched Charlotte Worthington win gold and Declan Brooks get silver.

Next the minister went to the Kokugikan Arena to watch British super heavy-weight boxer Frazer Clarke fight Frenchman Mourad Aliev to reach the semi-final.

Finally the Tory MP for Mid Worcestershire went into the Ariake Gymnastics Centre to watch Max Whitlock win gold in the men’s Pommel Horse final.

Signing off his blog he wrote: ‘I am delighted to be out here supporting all our athletes and wish everyone the very best of luck in what will be another thrilling week of sport.’ 

The minister then went to watch Max Whitlock win gold in the men’s Pommel Horse. He tweeted: ‘I am delighted to be out here supporting all our athletes and wish everyone the very best of luck in what will be another thrilling week of sport.’

Kenji Utsunomiya, former chairman of the Japanese Bar Association, slammed the MP, telling MailOnline: ‘This is extremely serious. The minister should have followed the rules and gone into isolation.

‘We’ve already seen more than 200 Covid-19 cases emerging from Olympic personnel.

‘By holding these Olympics during a state of emergency, we are witnessing the most new Covid-19 cases that Japan has ever seen.

‘The Olympics have caused this explosion in new infections.

‘This is creating a situation in which our medical system could collapse and many people could die. 

Britain’s athletes were required to isolate for three days when they arrived in Japan ahead of the Games. 

They were forbidden to mix with anyone outside their bubble and banned from interacting with other nationalities or members of the Japanese public.

More than a dozen athletes were threatened with expulsion over the weekend after they held an illegal outdoors drinks party in Athletes Village.

Two Georgian athletes were stripped of their Olympic credentials taking an sight-seeing tour of the capital.

Mre Huddleston tweeted throughout the beginning of his stay in Japan after arriving on Friday July 31, for which a government spokesman said he was exempt from isolating

A Government spokesman said: ‘The Sports Minister is in Tokyo for a short visit to support the latter stages of Team GB’s campaign at the Olympic Games. He will be in the country until 4 August.

‘He has had to follow strict covid-19 testing protocols and requirements prior to entry into Japan, and will continue to follow these throughout his visit. This includes pre-entry tests, tests upon arrival and daily tests until his departure.

‘He is the UK Government’s only representative due to Japan’s strict COVID-19 restrictions, travelling under a diplomatic exemption from quarantine set by the Japanese Government.

‘The trip will also be used to meet the Minister’s Japanese counterparts and inform the UK’s major events planning, ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games next year.’ 

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