Sadiq Khan warns James O'Brien of "bad decision making" from government in lockdown ease

23 June 2020, 14:00 | Updated: 23 June 2020, 14:45

By Seán Hickey

The Mayor of London told LBC that the government "refused to work with us at all" and stopped hosting COBRA meetings a month ago.

Sadiq Khan was speaking to James O'Brien just before Boris Johnson announced the introduction of "one metre plus" distancing from July 4th, allowing the reopening of pubs, restaurants and other indoor amenities.

The Mayor of London revealed that he foresaw issues with the NHS app in its initial phases, as he was given no information from government.

"I asked Matt Hancock months ago to pilot it in London, in a borough in London as well as Isle of Wight because we could see a number of concerns."

He told James that the government "didn't want to share with us any information at all, so we couldn't kick the tyres" which resulted in a saga surrounding the app when it was finally proved not fit for purpose.

"They refused to work with us at all" Mr Khan said.

He compared the British app against a decentralised app in Germany and noted a massive take up in the German public. He wondered why the UK didn't use a decentralised app from the beginning, which would have been compatible on Google and Apple devices.

"Some people say is it British exceptionalism, is it arrogance of this government, is it group thinking, I suspect it's a combination of all those things."

The London Mayor told James that "there's been no COBRA since the 10th of May, so there's no opportunity for the Nicola Sturgeons or me or Mark Drakeford to kick the tyres and to ask these questions," which he thought will lead to bad decision making in the easing of lockdown.

"If you're so confident in your decision making why are you scared of scrutiny" he wondered.

"I welcome a public enquiry but it'll be too late by then...we need to be making tweaks and improvements to save lives."

The Mayor of London was worried that while the government avoids working with other parties, bad decision making becomes more likely
The Mayor of London was worried that while the government avoids working with other parties, bad decision making becomes more likely. Picture: PA

READ MORE: What are the new coronavirus lockdown rules in England? LBC explains

James asked the Mayor of London if he could see a method in the government's planned reopening, where Mr Khan said that "there's been a lot of constructive ambiguity from the government's messaging in the last 14 weeks."

"I cautiously welcome any easing as long as it's backed up by scientific advice and it is safe to do so." He added some conditions whereby he feels more clarity should be made by the government.

He told James that "anybody that goes inside a shop or a gallery should be required to wear a face covering" and worried that he doesn't think our test trace isolate system "is functional or operational"

"The key thing is if you catch the virus, can you get a test, can you get the results back quickly and can the government assure that they've traced everyone that you've come into contact with so that you can be isolated, because unless that happens there's nothing to stop a second wave occurring."

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