James O'Brien's response to people flouting two metre rule on Westminster Bridge

17 April 2020, 13:23

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien's left utterly flummoxed after people congregated alongside police officers on Westminster Bridge to clap for carers.

The Metropolitan Police gathered on Westminster Bridge at 8pm on Thursday night to clap for carers - a stone's throw from St Thomas' Hospital where Boris Johnson was treated for coronavirus.

However the well-meaning display of gratitude led to fury after viral footage showed members of the public entirely disregarding social distancing to join the clap, all while officers "stood by" and watched the packed scenes.

"Even after all these weeks of discussing the incomprehensibility of some peoples' behaviours, I couldn't believe my eyes," James exclaimed.

"There were hundreds of people and several police cars...with the blues and twos on full and paramedics are there as well, all standing less than two metres of apart. I genuinely can't believe this, I don't think the Mayor could either."

James said, "There's a bloke with a baby standing two yards, a yard and a half away from the bloke with a toddler all clapping... I cannot believe my eyes."

"Nobody in the footage I'm looking at is two metres away from everybody else, every single person standing on Westminster Bridge, applauding health care professionals who have begged the entire country to stay at home to save lives, haven't stayed at home, aren't observing social distancing rules, couldn't be further away from self isolating.

"And to compound all of that they are joined by countless members of the emergency services who have convened on Westminster Bridge with their vehicles and are standing shoulder to shoulder.

"In all the years I've been doing this programme, I'm not sure I've ever felt less able to identify precisely what question I should ask you now about this," James said, utterly flummoxed, "except what the flip is going on?"

"Clap for our Carers is our beautiful scheme designed to let us show our appreciation for people who are adamant that the best thing we can do to help them is to stay at home!"

"How did this happen? What is the mindset of an individual member of the public, who thinks oh I'll just bowl down to Westminster Bridge...Every doctor, nurse and paramedic has made it categorically clear that we endanger them when we don't socially distance."

"What I'm doing on Westminster Bridge on Thursday evening is I'm clapping all the nurses and doctors who told us to stay at home and stay apart from each other by not staying at home and not staying apart from each other."

Met Police told LBC News:

"Officers, along with other emergency service workers, came together last night on Westminster Bridge to celebrate the work of all key workers.A large number of members of the public also gathered to express their gratitude.

"While many people adhered to social distancing guidance, it appears that some did not."