Now 'grinch' Khan blames steward shortage for cancelling London NYE fireworks

14 October 2021, 08:45 | Updated: 14 October 2021, 09:00

Sadiq Khan is now saying a steward shortage is a factor behind the cancelled New Year fireworks
Sadiq Khan is now saying a steward shortage is a factor behind the cancelled New Year fireworks. Picture: Alamy

By James Morris

Sadiq Khan has now blamed steward shortages for the cancellation of London's New Year's Eve fireworks.

The mayor of London initially announced on Tuesday that the world-famous display will not be held on the banks of the Thames this year "due to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic".

The decision led to anger and confusion, with Boris Johnson having lifted all coronavirus restrictions three months ago. The mayor was branded a "grinch" by one London Assembly member.

Mr Khan's office issued an updated statement last night further addressing the cancellation.

A spokesperson for the mayor added: "This event typically takes just under a year to plan and organise and as lockdown restrictions were only eased in July, this was unfortunately not possible this year.

"Also, due to a national shortage, there are simply not enough stewards available to allow this event to go ahead safely."

Mr Khan's spokesperson added "a number of exciting new options are being considered" for this year's New Year celebrations, including a new event in Trafalgar Square.

The spokesperson also assured worried revellers that even without the fireworks event, London as a whole will have "lots on offer for everyone to see, discover and enjoy".

Meanwhile, health secretary Sajid Javid told LBC this morning he was baffled at the decision to cancel the fireworks.

Mr Javid told Nick Ferrari, who had his own furious reaction yesterday: "Obviously that's a decision from the mayor but from my point of view, I can't understand why that can't happen.

Read more: Sadiq Khan branded 'grinch' for cancelling London's NYE fireworks

"I think there's a perfectly safe way that can take place so I really don't understand that decision."

He added he hopes Mr Khan "reconsiders" it.

The last London New Year firework ceremony that was open to the public was on 1 January, 2020
The last London New Year firework ceremony that was open to the public was on 1 January, 2020. Picture: Getty

Mr Javid said: "I think the London fireworks display normally on New Year's is fantastic, it's a great advert for the UK across the world and I hope that decision can be considered.

"I see no reason why that can't happen safely."