Home Business News Ashworth furious over ‘backdoor lockdown’ and demands Hancock makes U-turn

Ashworth furious over ‘backdoor lockdown’ and demands Hancock makes U-turn

25th May 21 2:28 pm

The Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth accused government Ministers of bringing in “backdoor” localised lockdowns in eight areas in England.

A furious Shadow Health Secretary told the House of Commons that the new “local lockdowns by stealth” is “insulting” to people who live in the lockdown areas.

People across England must avoid travelling in and out of Bedford, Blackburn and Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow, and North Tyneside.

People are only allowed to travel in or out of these areas for work or to attend education and medical reasons.

Ashworth blasted the government and told Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi that Leicester, Bolton and Tynesdie have had longer lockdowns than the rest of England and have been hit very hard throughout the pandemic.

Ashworth asked the Vaccines Minister, “Can the Minister understand how upsetting it is, how insulting it is, to have new restrictions imposed upon us, local lockdowns by stealth, by the backdoor, and the secretary of state doesn’t even have the courtesy to come and tell us?

“Why was this guidance plonked on a website on Friday night and not communicated to everyone?

“Why were local directors of public health and local authority leaders not consulted?

“Why weren’t MPs informed?

“And what does it now mean for our constituents?’

Zahawi said, “The one thing I would urge is that we all work together and take the politics out of this.

“Essentially, what we’re asking people to do in the affected areas is to be cautious, is to be careful.”

He said that people should meet outdoors where possible and stay 2m apart if you don’t live with those people.

Those who live in the affected areas can meet family in half term, but they must maintain social distancing.

Zahawi said, “Avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential.

“This is a time to be vigilant, to be careful.”

He added, “Through acting quickly whenever the virus flares up and protecting people through our vaccination programme we can guard the incredible gains we have all made and get ourselves on the road to recovery.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the new guidance which came out last Friday is “not statutory.”

He said, “We have talked before about where we are at this stage in the pandemic in the UK, where we are able to move away from top-down edicts from the government and start transitioning to a position where we have moved back to where the public are able to exercise their good judgment, as they have done throughout.

“We will continue to monitor the situation.”

The government website says, “In the areas listed… wherever possible, you should try to meet outside rather than inside where possible; keep 2 metres apart from people that you don’t live with [unless you have formed a support bubble with them], this includes friends and family you don’t live with; avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work [if you cannot work from home] or education.”

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey said on Tuesday morning that she is surprised to hear people believe that this has come out of the blue, “it hasn’t” she said.

Speaking to Sky News Coffey said, “The Prime Minister set out that we need to take extra caution in certain areas regarding the Indian variant.

“It is good practice to formally put that guidance on the record affecting those communities. We have been working in close contact, so I’m surprised to hear that people think this has come out of the blue, it hasn’t.

“It is about formalising on the record the guidance which we believe people can and should follow in order to make sure we tackle and don’t have more spread of the Indian variant.”

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