Vicar brands Government u-turn over fines review 'disappointing'

27 May 2020, 11:38 | Updated: 27 May 2020, 11:41

Press Conference vicar asks if the rules differ for those close to the PM

Press conference vicar says he's disappointed after he a Government u-turn over a review of coronavirus fines.

Reverend Martin Poole the vicar of St Luke’s in Prestonville pushed Matt Hancock the daily Downing Street briefing to review all penalty fines imposed on families travelling for childcare purposes during the coronavirus lockdown.

He told LBC he didn't feel like he'd been lied to but was worried there was some confusion over a "change in Government policy."

He told Tom Swarbrick his intention was to have cases reviewed as those who had been fined could feel "hard done by if they were penalised and Dominic Cummings wasn't."

The vicar said he thought perhaps people in similar circumstances should receive a "refund or waiver."

He said he was looking for a "level playing field" in the hope that everybody would be "treated the same."

"I am very concerned as a vicar and a person of faith about the inequalities in that there are in our society," he said.

Tom asked if Martin would "like to see a change in Government policy."

"I'd like to see people treated the same across the board and for the Government to be seen to be evenhanded and fair about that," the vicar said.

Martin said it was "disappointing" that the Government now were not going to review the fines that had been issued.

He said, "a public promise, by a Government Minister on national television should be something that's kept."

Reverend Martin Poole the vicar of St Luke’s in Prestonville
Reverend Martin Poole the vicar of St Luke’s in Prestonville. Picture: LBC

The conversation comes after Matt Hancock faced a string of questions over the ongoing row about the Prime Minister's senior adviser Dominic Cummings travelling to Durham with his wife and child.

Rev Poole, from Brighton, asked him: "Will the Government review all penalty fines imposed on families travelling for childcare purposes during lockdown?"

Mr Hancock vowed to give a "full answer" in writing and promised to make an announcement on the issue at a future press conference.

But within minutes of the press conference coming to an end, Downing Street sources briefed political reporters that there will be no review.

Tom asked the vicar what he would say to Matt Hancock now if he were face to face with him.

The answer was "how do you think Government should be behaving in these kind of situations?"

He also wanted to ask "is there a different set of rules for people who are close to the Prime Minister or who are in leadership, to the rest of us in the country?"

He said it should be made clear if there is leeway, but warned that could be dangerous with the nation in a public health crisis.

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