Leicester local lockdown was a political move, city's mayor claims

17 July 2020, 09:58 | Updated: 17 July 2020, 10:47

Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has told LBC the decision to lock down Leicester was a "political decision" and that Tory areas have been released from lockdown first.

Sir Peter accused the Government of making a "party political" decision to keep city-wide restrictions.

He told LBC's Tom Swarbrick that it was a political decision to lockdown the city "before Public Health England recommended that in fact a lockdown wasn't needed."

When Tom asked the Mayor if he believed the city should have been locked down, Sir Peter said the extra restrictions should have only impacted on certain parts of the city.

Leicester&squot;s Mayor has accused the Health Secretary of taking a "sledgehammer approach" to the city&squot;s lockdown.
Leicester's Mayor has accused the Health Secretary of taking a "sledgehammer approach" to the city's lockdown. Picture: PA

The Mayor said bringing in the lockdown was a "political decision," and that it was a "political decision yesterday to let out the areas with the Tory MPs, to let them out and keep the rest of us in."

He said what should be happening is focusing the public health response on the 10% of the city where people are at the greatest risk.

Tom asked what the political allegiance of the people in the areas most at risk, to which Sir Peter said he didn't "have a clue".

The Mayor added that the areas where people were most at risk all had a Labour councillor.

Sir Peter said most of the city had the same rates of transmission as the areas that had been "let out" adding "why let those areas out, except that the Tory MPs have bent the ear of the Secretary of State."

It comes after the Health Secretary told MPs on Thursday afternoon that restrictions on schools and nurseries would be lifted from July 24, while councils would be given local powers to close non-essential shops where necessary.

But pubs and restaurants will remain closed, and restrictions on non-essential travel and only having social gatherings of up to six people will remain in force, pending another review in a fortnight.

Mr Hancock also announced changes to the lockdown boundary, with the restrictions only applying to the city of Leicester and the borough of Oadby and Wigston from July 24.