Sir Keir Starmer: I doubt there's any scientific evidence behind 10pm pub curfew

12 October 2020, 13:13 | Updated: 12 October 2020, 13:39

Starmer says he doubts there is scientific evidence behind 10pm curfew

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

During the regular monthly Call Keir slot the Labour leader told LBC he doubts there is scientific evidence behind the 10pm pub curfew.

In response to a question from a listener, Sir Keir Starmer said he felt "everybody is concerned about the hospitality sector as that looks like the area that's going to get squeezed."

The Labour leader called on the Government to bring in "tailored support" for businesses in areas which local restrictions are being brought in.

He said: "If you're going to bring in restrictions that must go hand in hand with economic support for the sectors that can't operate under the restrictions."

When asked how he would vote on a 10pm curfew the Labour leader said it was a really good example, but he told LBC "I doubt there is any scientific basis behind it."

Sir Keir said the forced closure of pubs and licensed premises at 10pm "isn't working as intended" citing the "hard stop" to people drinking which has then caused them to go out into the streets.

He pointed out that rules in Wales meant people had to leave venues at staggered times in order to prevent a mass exodus.

The Labour leader said it was a "major mistake of the government to have done everything from Whitehall and not worked with the local leaders on this. They’re doing a bit more of it now, to be fair…”

Sir Keir was speaking ahead Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing MPs in the Commons to spell out his three-tier strategy which will see areas in England labelled as medium, high or very high risk, which will inform the "appropriate interventions" needed in each area.

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The Prime Minister will also hold a press conference in Downing Street later with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty later on Monday.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "Our primary focus has always been to protect lives and livelihoods while controlling the spread of the virus and these measures will help achieve that aim.

"We must do everything we can to protect the NHS and make sure it can continue to deliver the essential services that so many people rely on.

"This is a critical juncture and it is absolutely vital that everyone follows the clear guidance we have set out to help contain the virus."