Labour leader calls for ‘circuit breaker’ including pub closures

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Opposition party: Labour leader Keir Starmer wants the Government to impose stricter national restrictions (image credit: Chris McAndrew)
Opposition party: Labour leader Keir Starmer wants the Government to impose stricter national restrictions (image credit: Chris McAndrew)

Related tags: Government, Legislation, Labour party

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer has called on the Government to enforce a “two to three week” national lockdown, closing hospitality venues while keeping schools open.

This comes after reports that Northern Ireland is set to become the first part of the UK to impose a ‘circuit breaker’ where tighter restrictions will be in place for four weeks.

It would include schools closing for two weeks with pubs and restaurants shutting, apart from takeaways.

According to press agency PA, hospitality venues would close from Friday 16 October and other measures would start from Monday 19 October.

In a press conference yesterday (Tuesday 13 October), Starmer pointed to recommendations given from Government advisers the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

Minimise disruption

He said: “The Government's plan simply isn't working. Another course is needed.

“That's why I'm calling for a two to three-week circuit break in England, in line with Sage's recommendation.

“A temporary set of clear and effective restrictions designed to get the R rate down and reverse the trend of infections and hospital admissions.

“This would not mean schools closing but if it happens imminently, if can be timed to run across half term to minimise disruption.”

He added a break would need “significant sacrifices across the country” and only essential work and travel could be undertaken.

Compensation needed

Starmer added: “Everyone who can work from home should do so. Non-essential offices should be closed.

“Household mixing should be restricted to one household, except for those who formed support bubbles.

“All pubs, bars and restaurants would be closed for two to three weeks but compensated so no business loses out because of the sacrifices we all have to make.

“It should also mean the UK parliament moves to remote working.”

This follows leaked documents from Sage revealing ministers were told the 10pm curfew on pubs would only have a ‘marginal impact’​ on fighting the virus.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said the sector had been calling for robust evidence the curfew was necessary and the Sage leak proved it was a justified measure.

Related topics: Legislation

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