Shadow health secretary accuses government of 'lockdown by stealth' as Burnley public vents frustration

A widely-criticised government 'recommendation' for people to avoid travelling to and from Burnley, unless the journey is essential, has been labelled as 'lockdown by stealth' by a leading opposition politician.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 4:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 4:10 pm

Burnley is one of eight local authority areas, along with Blackburn and Bolton, targeted by a low-key government release on Friday which also recommended that residents in the areas do not meet up with other people indoors and maintain a socially-distant two-metre gap when out in public.

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Now Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has accused the government of imposing the new rules "by stealth".

People in Burnley are being advised to avoid travelling out of town under new government guidance. Photo: Getty

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr Ashworth said to vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi: "Can he understand how upsetting it is, how insulting it is, to have new restrictions imposed upon us, local lockdowns by stealth, by the back door, and the secretary of state doesn't even show up?"

Mr Ashworth was referring to the non-appearance of Health Secretary Matt Hancock to answer his questions.

Meanwhile, Burnley residents have taken to social media to attack the manner in which the government 'advice' was released 'under the radar' and for the fact that areas with a higher Covid rate than Burnley's were not included in the recommendations.