Sadiq Khan tells LBC: Boris Johnson overruled me about closing building sites

24 March 2020, 12:33 | Updated: 24 March 2020, 16:17

Sadiq Khan has told James O'Brien that he argued at the COBRA meeting that construction workers should not be going to work but was over-ruled by Boris Johnson.

The Mayor of London said he did not think it was right for construction sites to be open after the government announced a lockdown across the UK yesterday.

James suggested that people building hotels or restaurants should be told to stay at home and Mr Khan agreed, but said that he had been overruled at the COBRA meeting.

Read more: Coronavirus UK: What time is Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s press conference today?

He added: "And every one of the government ministers who spoke overruled me.

"I think it's important for the government to understand the scale of the challenge we are facing.

"Of course I understand that bill have to be paid by the government, but they have to realise that people are dying.

"In the meantime, people are making choices for reasons that I understand - they are self-employed freelancers working in the gig economy - and the government's got to step in and help them.

Read more: "Social distancing doesn't exist in my company," Royal Mail worker tells James O'Brien

"I can't find any justification for people, when we know there is a global pandemic, when hundreds have already died and we know that thousands will die unless we take big steps.

"Why the government doesn't make it quite clear that these are instructions that must be followed. People must stay at home unless there is one of four reasons why they've got to leave home - food, medicine, exercise or one of those critical jobs."

Read more: UK Lockdown: Is the bank and Post Office still open? Can I still receive online deliveries?

James O'Brien spoke to Sadiq Khan about the Tubes and building sites
James O'Brien spoke to Sadiq Khan about the Tubes and building sites. Picture: LBC

In their previous conversation, the Mayor was backing Boris Johnson's handling of the coronavirus crisis, but that appeared to have changed in this conversation.

Mr Khan added: "The Prime Minister has been moving slower than I would have wanted. I still don't think last night's message was as clear as it could be and this conversation is evidence of that."

Listen to the full interview at the top of the page.

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