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Ministers under pressure to address questions over Leicester lockdown

MINISTERS came under pressure today to hold a Downing Street press conference to address questions over the Leicester lockdown extension.

The government scrapped the daily briefings last week but pledged to hold them to “coincide with significant announcements.”

PM Boris Johnson said at the time that ministers would keep the nation informed as there will be “more outbreaks, certainly local outbreaks.”

But, despite the introduction of measures including the closure of non-essential shops and schools in the city, Downing Street has said there are no plans for a press conference.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said people in Leicester are “crying out for answers to perfectly legitimate questions” on the lockdown, as he led calls for a media briefing.

He said: “They said they would reconvene press conferences when important, significant things happen. This is important and this is significant."

Claudia Webbe, Labour MP for Leicester East, accused the government of failing to adequately protect communities “at every step in this crisis,” from lockdown and testing delays, equipment shortages and care home neglect.

She said: "With Leicester required to maintain lockdown measures, it will be necessary for economic support to be extended and expanded. 

“It is my view that all workplaces must adhere to health and safety measures, and no workers in Leicester should be forced to work in unsafe conditions. 

“This crisis has demonstrated the need for unionised, accountable workplaces that prioritise employee wellbeing. 

“To ensure that every Leicester resident can seek the medical help they need, it is also vital for full citizenship rights to be extended for undocumented workers, those with no recourse to public funds and people with no indefinite leave to remain.
 
“Leicester East is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse places in the UK, and has high levels of both child poverty and in-work poverty. The virus itself may not discriminate, but our economic and social system certainly does."

Employers forced to shut their doors again in Leicester under the local lockdown will be able to refurlough their staff if they have used the scheme before, Downing Street has said.

No 10 said that the scheme to prevent job losses could still be utilised by firms, in the city and elsewhere, that are affected by the return of strict measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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