Bournemouth MP fears "selfish" beach-goers will cause second spike

25 June 2020, 16:49

By Fiona Jones

Bournemouth East MP fears of a second pandemic spike if national emergency services do not intervene to clear the beaches of thousands of "selfish" sun-seekers.

Bournemouth Council has declared a major incident as police warn sun-seekers to stay away from some Dorset beaches on what is set to be the UK's hottest day of the year so far.

Britain's sweltering heatwave continued as the mercury struck 30 before midday with thousands of people flocking to beaches despite warnings to stay away.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood told LBC half a million people have come down to Dorset today, attributing this to other forms of attraction being closed due to lockdown.

"With the scenes that we're seeing you would not think there was an enduring emergency down there or anywhere. I'm afraid some of the actions have been both selfish and dangerous," Mr Ellwood said.

"I'd hate to see Bournemouth be that place that gets the second spike, undoing all the good work and then having to then see tougher lockdown measures being put back in to place," the MP said.

He told Eddie Mair the local emergency services have been greatly overstretched, including abating anti-social incidents due to alcohol, and they are desperately in need of national intervention.

Eddie commented that with the termination of the daily public briefings and the Prime Minister's desire to see "bustle", the public may interpret the government as believing the emergency is over, to which Mr Ellwood said while hopes that is not public attitude, he disagreed with the choice to end the daily briefings in this ongoing crisis.

Eddie observed that if the Prime Minister had not abandoned the daily briefings he could be "on his feet talking to the nation in 35 minutes time" to dissuade beach-goers.

The Bournemouth East MP agreed, "Communications with the wider audience is absolutely critical, particularly when the dynamics are changing.

"We have an issue down in Bournemouth which is beyond the capabilities of the local council to manage and therefore national assets must be moved quickly to support that. If you don't do that the consequence will be a second spike as I mentioned," Mr Ellwood said.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council Leader Vikki Slade said: “We are absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches, particularly at Bournemouth and Sandbanks, in the last 24-48 hours.

"The irresponsible behaviour and actions of so many people is just shocking and our services are stretched to the absolute hilt trying to keep everyone safe.

"We have had no choice now but to declare a major incident and initiate an emergency response.”