Sir Keir Starmer under fire as angry caller savages Labour support for ‘damaging’ lockdown

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Sir Keir Starmer and a majority of Labour Party MPs last week voted with the Government in favour of putting England under the second round of severe coronavirus restrictions. Sir Keir has maintained the decision was justified as the rate on infection continues to rise across large parts of the nation. But hairdresser Rosa challenged the move as she branded the decision to shut down businesses again as deeply “damaging”.

Calling into LBC to speak with Sir Keir, Rosa from Woking said: “Last week I shut down my hairdressing salon despite it being super Covid safe.

“In fact, SAGE research shows that my industry only contributes 0.5 percent to the R rate.

“I want to know why you support a lockdown that is so damaging to business and workers, especially in one of our busiest period of the year.”

The Labour Party leader dismissed the attack on himself and his colleagues as he renewed his attack on the Government over “losing control” of the pandemic.

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Sir Keir thanked Rosa and her colleagues across England for the sacrifices they have been making but insisted the focus of the UK should now be on lowering the transmission rate.

He said: “Rosa, I’m really sorry to hear that and it must be really hard because I know you and others have done so much to make workplaces Covid-safe.

“The sad reality is that the Government lost control of the virus and the infection rate is going up across the whole of England. What that means is that the number of cases is doubling every so many days.

“It can be seven, sometimes it can be ten, but it’s doubling. That means the number of people with the infection is going up, the number of people into hospital, sadly those dying in hospital is going to go up.”

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He added: “So if you don’t bring down the virus under control if the R rate is over one, it means that that doubling will continue and there comes a point when the NHS will be overwhelmed.

“Hundreds of thousands of people will be dying on a daily basis and nobody wants to see that.”

But even LBC host Nick Ferrari appeared unconvinced by the argument, hitting back at the Labour leader: “We are where we are, and you and your party supported closing down a hairdresser in Woking to help keep people in Nottingham alive.

“How does that work?”

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Sir Keir said: “There is no area, sadly, in England where the infection rate was not going up.

“And I know it was going up more quickly in some areas than others but everywhere…at one stage I think Cornwall and the Isle of White were the only areas where the infection rate was under one.”

The comments come as NHS staff was warned to isolate anyone suspected of having been infected with a new strand of the coronavirus originating from minks.

The mutation was first reported in Denmark, where mink breeders have been ordered to cull over 17 million animals.

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