James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
'It's a staggering blow' - Iain Duncan Smith criticises Tier 2 London lockdown call
16 October 2020, 09:40
Sir Iain Duncan Smith has told LBC he thinks the decision to place London under Tier 2 lockdown restrictions is "a staggering blow" for the capital.
The former Conservative Party leader's words have come as police in London say they will be stepping up patrols and taking increased action to crack down on breaches of coronavirus rules from this weekend.
Nine million people in the capital face Tier 2 restrictions from midnight tonight, with a ban on different households from mixing in any indoor setting.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Sir Iain said: "I think, first of all, this position is premature for London. London is a huge city. It's one of the great global cities of the world.
"Most of their boroughs are bigger than many of the towns around the UK, and the figures vary dramatically from one end of London to the next.
"So South-West London has incredibly low levels of the spread. Others have higher. But the average, even including some of the highest, is still very low relative to places like Manchester and to Liverpool and many of the other towns."
He later called the decision to place London under Tier 2 restrictions "a staggering blow" for the capital and to the UK's hospitality sector.
During the exchange, Sir Iain also accused Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn for having "pretty much gone missing" during "large parts of the [Covid crisis]".
The former Tory leader then told Nick that he wondered if London had been placed under Tier 2 lockdown restrictions because the Government was facing pressure to avoid debate on the North-South divide.
"Many MPs are really concerned about that and we weren't consulted at all on this," he said.