Labour will support vote to extend lockdown restrictions 'with a heavy heart'

15 June 2021, 09:13

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth tells LBC it is 'with a heavy heart' Labour will vote to support an extension to lockdown restrictions.

After the Prime Minister announced there would be a further four week delay to the country unlocking due to an increase in Covid cases, LBC spoke to a senior Labour frontbencher.

Amid rumours of a possible Conservative revolt Nick Ferrari asked Jonathan Ashworth which way his party would vote.

"It is with a heavy heart we will vote to support the extension of these restrictions."

Mr Ashworth said he was concerned about the increase in the Delta Covid variant.

He said he thought "a few more weeks" were needed to push infection rates down" and help roll out vaccinations.

The conversation comes after it was announced England's so-called 'freedom day' would be delayed until 19th July.

Boris Johnson says postponing step four of the government's roadmap will allow more people to receive vaccinations before further restrictions are eased.

It means nightclubs will stay shut, many music gigs will have to be cancelled and capacity limits for pubs and other venues remain in place.

The limit on guests at weddings will be lifted next week, although rules on singing and dancing remain.

The Prime Minister confirmed that he was delaying ending England's lockdown, with July 19 now the date earmarked for lifting the remaining restrictions.

He told a Downing Street press conference that the spread of the Delta variant meant "we have obviously faced a very difficult choice".

"We can simply keep going with all of Step 4 on June 21, even though there is a real possibility that the virus will outrun the vaccines and that thousands more deaths would ensue which could otherwise have been avoided.

"Or else we can give the NHS a few more crucial weeks to get those remaining jabs into the arms of those who need them.

"And since today I cannot say that that we have met all our four tests for proceeding with Step 4 on June 21, I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer."