Wednesday 14 July 2021 / 6:32 PM Jim McMahon

Labour demands Ministers admit they were wrong and ‘show leadership’ on mask-wearing

Labour has demanded ministers admit they were wrong and ‘show leadership’ on mask-wearing, after London Mayor Sadiq Khan said masks would remain mandatory on public transport in the capital.

Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, urging him to ensure the same rules remain in place on rail services across England.

In his letter, McMahon said: “Ministers have been all over the place on mask-wearing. The Chancellor and Environment Secretary said they’d stop wearing a mask as soon as they could. The Communities Secretary said he’d put his straight in the bin. Yet now we’re being told by the Prime Minister that it would be impolite to not wear a mask in an enclosed public place, such as bus or train.

“We all know that masks are designed to reduce the risk of passing on the virus to others.  So I can’t understand why, when the scientific evidence shows their benefit and the majority of the public are supportive of their use, you aren’t continuing to mandate them on public transport.”

Labour wants the Government to use powers under its emergency management contracts to ensure mask rules remain in place across all rail services.

The letter adds: “Studies suggest mask-wearing can cut the risk of contracting Covid by up to 70%.  So can you explain why you won’t follow the lead of the management of TfL, Eurostar, BA and others and mandate mask-wearing on national rail services?

“The public want leadership from Government.  It’s either the right thing to wear a mask on public transport or it’s not. It’s time for ministers to accept they were wrong.”