The mayor of London has written to the prime minister to express “great surprise” that the government reportedly plans to use the M25 to seal off the capital if there is a spike in coronavirus (Covid-19) infections.
Sadiq Khan also pointed out that it has been 12 weeks since he was invited to a Cobra meeting as he warned against “riding roughshod over democratically elected representatives”.
The Times reported that Boris Johnson held a “war game” session with chancellor Rishi Sunak on 29 July to run through possible options in the event of a second wave, and measures are said to include lockdown-like conditions for London, with the M25 acting as a barrier around the capital.
A letter sent to Johnson from Khan and chair of London Councils Peter John said: “It is with great surprise that we read in the Sunday papers that government held a critical exercise last week in which a major resurgence in Covid-19 infections in London was a central scenario.
“According to media reports, the plans included using the M25 as a quarantine ring – effectively sealing off the city.
“Our surprise is that such far-reaching contingency plans have been discussed and tested without the involvement or awareness of London’s government.
“This is clearly totally unacceptable and an affront to London and Londoners.”
The letter also said the government has been slow to take decisions or has taken the wrong decisions “time and again throughout this crisis”, adding: “This must stop.
“Riding roughshod over democratically elected representatives who understand their communities better than central government will lead to worse outcomes for Londoners, and the country as a whole.”
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?