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Sir Keir Starmer urges ministers to rethink 10pm pub curfew after English lockdown

9 November 2020, 11:46 | Updated: 9 November 2020, 17:58

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Sir Keir Starmer has urged the government to rethink its 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants once the second England-wide lockdown is lifted.

The Labour leader was taking calls from listeners during his monthly LBC phone-in Call Keir when a restaurant manager asked whether he believed in scrapping the measure.

"The 10pm curfew is very damaging to the hospitality industry generally... as a result we're financially hit much harder," the caller said, adding that forcing people to crowd onto public transport at once was "counter-intuitive".

Sir Keir was then asked if he agrees with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that the 10pm curfew should be scrapped after England's second lockdown.

The Labour leader said we need "to look again" at the measure as it clearly "didn't work" after pictures emerged of people crowding out of pubs and restaurants all at once. However, he admitted he could "understand what the government was trying to achieve" when initially introducing the curfew.

Watch: Starmer to speak to Chancellor over '3 million excluded' from Covid support

Read more: Sir Keir tells LBC decision to oust Corbyn from Labour 'wasn't political'

Watch: Sir Keir Starmer 'sure' UK will strike Brexit trade deal with Joe Biden

Sir Keir Starmer told LBC he thinks the 10pm curfew needs addressing after the English lockdown
Sir Keir Starmer told LBC he thinks the 10pm curfew needs addressing after the English lockdown. Picture: LBC

He said: "There's a smarter way of doing this and I think that if you were to stagger that time differently so that people left at different times it would be far better.

"When this came up in Parliament for us to vote on three or four weeks ago we had an up-down vote, which means you either vote for it or vote against it, so you can't cherry-pick it and change it.

"Lots of people, including a number of Tory MPs, think this needs to be reviewed so there's a lot of work for the government to do.

"It needs to think about the regime in place when we come out of lockdown, and where things have not really worked very well they've got an opportunity.

"And if they come up with something sensible, we'll work with them on it."

Sir Keir added that he supported staggering exit times which had been practised in Wales prior to the nation's firebreak lockdown.

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