Christmas lockdown: Labour’s Dodds grilled by BBC host over Starmer’s plea to axe holidays

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Concerns have arisen over the possibility of a national lockdown at Christmas after it emerged from the original SAGE discussion of a circuit breaker that advisers had warned there may have to be another during the winter holidays when schools are closed. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been calling for a circuit break shutdown, which would mean all bars, pubs and restaurants close around the country whatever the level of the coronavirus. Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds was confronted by the BBC’s Nick Robinson over whether Sir Keir’s plea extended to shutting down Christmas across the country.

He asked: “Do you think it might be right to say to people at Christmas you can’t go to the pub, restaurant or bar because this is the time to tackle this disease?”

Ms Dodds replied: “They said there was the potential for that, but let’s be honest, people in many parts of the country right now are not able to go with another household to those venues.

“They’re not able to go to them at all in those areas in the country where we’re seeing takeaway only.

“So that’s the reality for a lot of the people in the UK right now, nevermind at Christmas.”

Mr Robinson shot back: “Sure, but if Labour were in Government, would you be prepared to say that?

“A circuit breaker sounds like an easy choice sometimes, having two weeks off and then we can get back to normal.

“But the reality of those who proposed it is that there are repeated circuit breakers, often at the very time that people want to go out and go on holiday, in other words school holidays.

“Is Labour willing to say to the country that is when we need to be lockded down, that is what is necessary?”

The Shadow Chancellor told him: “We’ve always been open about this, there are costs associated with having a circuit breaker.

“But we’ve got to be recognising the fact that continuing as we are with this rolling programme of regional restrictions with apparently no end in sight for many of these areas is costing our economy dear.

“The reason why we were proposing a circuit breaker now was, of course, because of the half-term holidays. There shouldn’t be an impact on childrens’ education.”

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