A Labour MP has called for another national lockdown as coronavirus rates rose dramatically after an IT glitch caused 16,000 cases to go unreported.
Claudia Webbe, who was suspended from the Labour party last week after she was accused of sexual harassment tweeted: “Govt has lost total control of #COVID19. A national lockdown is needed. Extend both the eviction ban for renters & furlough scheme. Protect jobs & introduce a #WealthTax.”
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has maintained that a second national lockdown would be a “government failure”.
Starmer said in September that a second lockdown would take an “immense toll on people’s physical and mental health and on the economy”, and accused the government of losing control of the testing system.
Govt has lost total control of #COVID19
A national lockdown is needed
Extend both the eviction ban for renters & furlough scheme
Protect jobs & introduce a #WealthTax
Coronavirus: Nearly 16,000 new COVID-19 cases added to total after technical glitch https://t.co/drvaz3oS6r
— Claudia Webbe MP (@ClaudiaWebbe) October 4, 2020
On Sunday, it was revealed that nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported in daily case figures between 25 September and 2 October due to an IT glitch, reportedly caused by an Excel spreadsheet reaching its maximum file size.
The error means efforts have been delayed to trace contacts of a person who tested positive.
Read more: Where did the missing 16,000 positive coronavirus tests come from?
On Monday, Labour accused the government of overseeing a “shambolic” system.
Leicester East MP Webbe, who back in June called on the government to introduce the first local lockdown, also called for an eviction ban and furlough scheme extension.
Watch: Starmer: Second national lockdown would be sign of government failure
The furlough scheme is due to end this month, to be replaced by the government’s new wage subsidy programme, the job support scheme, from 1 November.
Labour has demanded the government further extend the eviction ban to ensure people do not lose their homes as a result of the pandemic.
Read more: Rishi Sunak: ‘I don’t want to be prime minister’
Webbe was elected as a Labour MP in December’s general election after nearly 10 years as a councillor in Islington, north London. Earlier in her career, she had been an adviser to Ken Livingstone while he was mayor of London.
Last week Webbe was charged with harassing a woman after a file of evidence was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) by the Metropolitan Police.
Webbe is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 11 November to face one count of harassment between 1 September, 2018, and 26 April, 2020.
Jenny Hopkins, from the CPS, said: “Criminal proceedings against Ms Webbe are now active and she has the right to a fair trial.
Read more: The government has lost control of the virus – Labour leader
“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
In a statement, the MP said: “I am innocent of any wrongdoing and look forward to proving this in court. I will be vigorously defending myself against these claims.”
Her comments on Monday come as many have said that the local lockdowns have not worked, describing them as “draconian” measures that will damage jobs and mental health.
Professor Robert Dingwall, who reports to the government’s Sage scientific advisory group, said: “There is only one of the local lockdown areas, Luton, where there appears to have been any benefit from the lockdown and cases are rising again there.
“Which strongly suggests to me that many of the measures are ill-considered or at least lack a clear evidence base.”
People in England face £10,000 fines for not self-isolating
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