Tom Swarbrick confronts Environment Secretary over confusing face mask policy

14 July 2020, 10:23

Tom Swarbrick challenges George Eustice over new face mask reegulation

By Fiona Jones

LBC's Tom Swarbrick confronts Environment Secretary George Eustice over the mixed messages about face masks in England.

Face coverings will become mandatory in all shops and supermarkets in England from 24 July. In a statement on Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to say anyone failing to comply with the order could face a fine of up to £100.

Tom asked why the Government has sent contradictory messages over the wearing of face masks after the Prime Minister implied they could become mandatory on Friday and on Sunday Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said believed in “people’s good sense” over compulsory ruling.

The Environment Secretary disagreed with the accusation of mixed messaging:"The evidence and the advice has been evolving in this space for some time...following that we gave a very clear steer that they should wear face coverings when out and about.

"We then made in mandatory on public transport in June and now as we start to loosen other restrictions... we think we need to consider other mitigating measures."

Tom asked why the Government claims to have faith in the public but are now making face masks mandatory.

"We have faith in them to abide by this rule but the truth is once you make something mandatory people do take it more seriously," Mr Eustice said.

Tom Swarbrick confronts Environment Secretary over confusing face mask policy
Tom Swarbrick confronts Environment Secretary over confusing face mask policy. Picture: LBC

Tom pushed him for clarity, accusing the Government's messaging of being a "mess."

Mr Eustice rejected this: "The Government had been considering a change in this area over the last few days but hadn't made that decision, therefore wasn't ready to announce it."

He said that Michael Gove's "commons sense" comment on Sunday represented the relevant guidelines then and not the guidelines presently.

"So this was the plan? The confusion was part of the plan?" asked Tom.

"I don't think it's right to say the confusion was part of the plan it's just an issue was under consideration but a decision had not been made, therefore a decision could not be announced until it was made," Mr Eustice said, pointing out the advice to wear face masks has been in place since May.

Responding to why these measures are not being enforced in restaurants and pubs, Mr Eustice said: "If people are going into pubs to drink or to eat it's obviously just not practical to require them to wear a face mask."

He did concede that there are "obviously risks" as pubs and restaurants are enclosed spaces, just like shops.

The Environment Secretary explained the face covering regulation comes into place on 24 July as it gives people time to get a mask and gives retailers time to prepare.

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

Exclusive
A sister has described the moment she punched a crocodile to save her sister.

'I wasn't going to leave her behind': Twin recalls punching crocodile to save sister

Exclusive
Susan Hall has dismissed Ed Miliband's claim that she would be an 'embarrassment' to Britain as the next London mayor.

Susan Hall dismisses as 'nonsense’ after Ed Miliband said she would be an ‘embarrassment’ as London Mayor

Exclusive
UK should prepare for 'something close to war', Nato's deputy tells LBC, amid warning members have 'neglected defence'

UK should prepare for 'something close to war', Nato's Deputy General tells LBC, as he warns Russia 'cannot be trusted'

Emma Webber (left) speaking to LBC

Mother of Nottingham attack victim Barnaby Webber blasts police ‘mistruths’ after force is put in special measures

Lord Harrington said there should be a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes.

Former refugees minister Lord Harrington calls for a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes

Mel Stride has backed the PM

Rishi Sunak has 'absolutely not' betrayed nation over Rwanda plan, insists minister after Braverman's attack on PM

Tom and caller

'Our family is there': Mother shares heartbreaking experience of being a British Jew during Israel-Hamas conflict

The ban will be brought into effect in months

'Children should be in the classroom to learn': Gillian Keegan orders 'blanket ban' of mobile phones in schools

Exclusive
Tributes have been paid to Elianne after she was stabbed to death in Croydon

Fellow pupil of schoolgirl stabbed to death in Croydon describes heartbreaking moment students were told of her killing

Scotland's first safe drug consumption space set to be openned

'Isn't this just decriminalising heroin?': Tom Swarbrick questions Labour MSP over first safe drug consumption room

The education secretary discusses educational reforms with Tom Swarbrick

Shadow education secretary says 'Building Schools for the Future Programme' would have prevented Raac crisis

Tom Swabrick

'Is it not completely mental?': Tom Swarbrick astonished as schools shut due to crumble-risk concrete before new term

Exam results

Equation sheets given to GCSE cohort in attempt lessen reduced grade inflation blow, schools minister says

Crime commentator on Adam Provan

Internal review of rapist ex-Met officer is the equivalent of 'marking your own homework', says crime commentator

Education Secretary discuss new Eton free schools on LBC

‘Bailed out by Eton’: Education Secretary discusses new free schools with Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick