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Boss of Caledonian Sleeper admits he travelled from London to visit his Highland holiday home on the west coast during Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic lockdown


By Ian Duncan

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Caledonian Sleeper and Serco CEO Rupert Soames.
Caledonian Sleeper and Serco CEO Rupert Soames.

THE boss of the Caledonian Sleeper train service has admitted travelling hundreds of miles to visit his holiday home in Scotland.

Initially Serco chief executive Rupert Soames had denied ignoring lockdown rules when he travelled from London to Inverness for a ­business trip.

In a statement last night he said: “I visited a property I own on the west coast of Scotland for a short time this week. The property is one of the most remote in ­Scotland, only ­accessible by boat, and I currently employ three people there.”

He said the visit was to hold job interviews for a manager’s post and that the visit was essential for the small and remote community.

Mr Soames, who is a grandson of Winston Churchill, said the visit did not breach the Scottish ­Government's guidelines because it involved travel to and from a place of work, and could not have been conducted from home.

He had earlier admitted travelling to Inverness on Tuesday to meet staff during a two-day visit however the RMT union has described the journey as ­“outrageous”.

Mick Hogg, the union's Scotland organiser, said: “It should not be happening. Clearly, he has not been listening and he seems oblivious to the guidance. Does he think because he is a senior person in business it is OK for him to travel?”

Questions have been asked about why ­meetings could not be held online.

Mr Soames recently had made visits to Serco’s operations, including an ­immigration centre in Bedfordshire and prisons in London, Staffordshire and Doncaster.

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