"Bournemouth beaches were packed because PM gave up six weeks ago"

26 June 2020, 17:56

By Fiona Jones

Bournemouth council leader said the reason the beaches had 250,000 visitors yesterday was because the Prime Minister "threw his hands up six weeks ago" and did not sack Dominic Cummings.

Bournemouth Council declared a major incident on Thursday as thousands of sun-seekers flocked to the coast and called on national intervention to help clear the crowds.

Prime Minister's instruction the previous day for seaside authorities was to "show some guts" and manage the beach-goers independently.

Council leader Vikki Slade, who had publicly condemned the behaviour, told LBC that Boris Johnson "decided to make it a free for all six weeks ago, threw his hands up and said not my problem mate, then he let [Dominic Cummings] do what he liked and the British public have said fine."

Ms Slade referred to the revelation that the PM's senior aide Dominic Cummings travelled from London to County Durham during the lockdown in a move which caused much controversy.

Bournemouth council leader said: "Bournemouth beaches were packed because PM gave up six weeks ago"
Bournemouth council leader said: "Bournemouth beaches were packed because PM gave up six weeks ago". Picture: PA

Ms Slade said it was at that point she noticed a change in mentality, "We noticed a significant difference in the behaviour of people after that incident where people have gone social distancing in their head doesn't apply anymore."

She told Eddie that Bournemouth has no problem managing numbers but managing the "absolutely unacceptable" behaviour yesterday, which included people defecating on the beach despite toilets being open and alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour.

Eddie countered that Mr Cummings can't be blamed for people defecating in the streets and Ms Slade agreed, putting that behaviour down to "a certain type of person" coming out of lockdown after three months of frustration.

She told Eddie people were dumping their cars in the middle of the road and "didn't care" about paying a penalty fine.

It was reportedly the same in Merseyside with thousands descending on to Formby beach.

Ms Slade was more optimistic about 4 July which will see pubs and restaurants reopen as people would not be able to take alcohol away from the proximity of the venue. This starkly contrasted scenes yesterday as people were bringing vast amounts of alcohol on to the sand.