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Sadiq’s personal letters to Boris at top of pandemic revealed


At first of the pandemic the Mayor of London used his media appearances to bolster official Authorities recommendation.

Nevertheless a candid letter, despatched on March 22, lays naked the crucial battles that had been happening behind the scenes.

Mr Khan privately warned the PM that his messaging to the general public was “failing” and that the lives of hundreds had been being “endangered”.

The letter reveals the Mayor’s personal considerations because the pandemic was taking maintain of London forward of UK’s first UK covid lockdown.  

Mr Khan wrote: “I don’t use the phrase lockdown frivolously, however I imagine Londoners should be informed to remain dwelling until they’re an important employee, are shopping for meals or gathering medicine from pharmacists.  

“Alongside this, there should be clear reassurances concerning the provide of meals to keep away from additional stockpiling and panic shopping for.  

“The results of not performing now are unimaginable. 1000’s extra folks will die consequently. Our NHS will probably be overwhelmed.  

“We solely must look to Italy on the horrors that might lie forward for London if we don’t change course. That’s the reason I urge you to behave urgently, and in a transparent and decisive method.”

The Mayor burdened that he had put social gathering politics to at least one facet given the dimensions of the disaster and that he would “fully” help the Authorities if Mr Johnson strengthened his public well being message to Londoners.  

(

A nurse comforting one other at a hospital southeast of Milan on the top of the pandemic in March. Sadiq Khan feared that London might be going through related ‘horrors’ to these suffered in Italy

/ AFP/Paulo Miranda )

However he warned: “Alternatively, when you insist on persevering with with the identical course, I will probably be left with no alternative however to talk on to Londoners with a harder message if it means hundreds of individuals’s lives might be saved.”

Within the letter Mr Khan additionally mentioned London wanted particular well being messaging that acknowledged the Covid-19 scenario within the capital was “a number of weeks forward” of the remainder of the nation.

He signed off, telling Mr Johnson: “I want to listen to again from you on this as a matter of urgency this night. I don’t imagine this matter can wait any longer. We should converse to Londoners instantly.”

There have been 6,049 covid deaths in London by Could 31, and there have been 7,322 thus far, in response to the Authorities’s dashboard. On the peak of the primary wave, 229 Londoners a day had been dying with coronavirus.

The day the letter was despatched, the Mayor was on the BBC’s Andrew Marr present urging folks to heed the recommendation or family members would die. 

The letter was amongst 9 written by the Mayor between March and August launched to the Normal beneath the FoI Act.

In one other letter, on June 5, Mr Khan informed Mr Johnson he was “deeply involved” that covid restrictions had been being lifted too quickly and warned of a second wave of the virus.  

Mr Khan informed the Prime Minister: “Over the previous week not less than 74 Londoners have misplaced their lives, whereas elsewhere around the globe the place lockdown has been relaxed there have been a lot decrease loss of life charges.  

“And that’s the reason, with extra folks contaminated each day, it’s too early to ease the lockdown.”

Metropolis Corridor declined to remark.  

A Authorities supply mentioned that earlier than Mr Khan’s letter was despatched, they’d already taken “complete motion” to sort out the virus. This included their motion plan on March 3, social distancing steerage on March 16 and a raft of measures earlier than lockdown such because the closure of bars and eating places.  

They mentioned the Authorities labored carefully with the Mayor all through, together with his attendance at Cobra conferences and calls with Cupboard ministers.

A Authorities spokesperson mentioned: “At each stage of the pandemic, we have now been guided by the most effective scientific recommendation and brought decisive motion to guard the NHS and save lives.  

“Earlier than the nationwide restrictions had been introduced by the PM on the finish of March, we had already taken important measures to restrict the unfold of the virus, together with closing colleges, banning mass gatherings and implementing strict guidelines on self-isolation.

“Now we have labored carefully with the Mayor of London and different native leaders all through to make sure help reached those that want it and public well being messages had been communicated successfully.”

Sadiq Khan’s letter to Boris Johnson on March 22

Expensive Prime Minister,

I’m writing to you privately, and in confidence. 

 

As you may be conscious, because the COVID-19 emergency started, my crew at Metropolis Corridor has labored carefully as greatest as we are able to with officers throughout authorities. Regardless of representations, Monday was the primary time I used to be allowed to attend the Cobra assembly. Now we have used our intensive social media channels and the TfL property to amplify public well being messaging. Now we have maintained seamless, joined-up messaging to the general public throughout Metropolis Corridor and authorities. 

 

Given the dimensions of the disaster we face, I’ve put social gathering politics to at least one facet as I hope you and others in your authorities have additionally sought to do. I’ve used my media appearances to bolster official authorities recommendation at each flip. This has been significantly vital over latest days as the recommendation to the general public modified to one among elevated social distancing. I additionally declined to publicly remark when requested to take action on briefings to the media final week relating to London’s lockdown, regardless of how damaging these blended messages had been to a confused public.

 

Nevertheless, I really feel I have to once more categorical to you within the strongest phrases potential my critical considerations that the present method, and the messaging to the general public, is failing. Because of this, the lives of hundreds of individuals are being endangered. 

 

I’m listening to again and again that Londoners really feel the messaging is both unclear, or they’re merely selecting to disregard it. This weekend has demonstrated how authorities recommendation isn’t being heeded – native buying areas had been busy, many individuals had been out and about, and too many had been nonetheless utilizing public transport. London wants particular public well being messaging that acknowledges the COVID-19 scenario in London is a number of weeks forward of the remainder of the nation and the distinctive nature of our main metropolitan space.

 

There must be a direct strengthening of the general public well being messaging to London. Recommendation is being seen as one thing that may be ignored. I don’t use the phrase lockdown frivolously, however I imagine Londoners should be informed to remain dwelling until they’re an important employee, are shopping for meals or gathering medicine from pharmacists. Alongside this, there should be clear reassurances concerning the provide of meals to keep away from additional stockpiling and panic shopping for. 

 

The results of not performing now are unimaginable. 1000’s extra folks will die consequently. Our NHS will probably be overwhelmed. We solely must look to Italy on the horrors that might lie forward for London if we don’t change course. That’s the reason I urge you to behave urgently, and in a transparent and decisive method. 

 

I guarantee you that with any strengthening of the message to Londoners or its enforcement, I’ll help you fully. 

 

However, alternatively, when you insist on persevering with with the identical course, I will probably be left with no alternative however to talk on to Londoners with a harder message if it means hundreds of individuals’s lives might be saved. 

 

I want to listen to again from you on this as a matter of urgency this night. I don’t imagine this matter can wait any longer. We should converse to Londoners instantly.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sadiq Khan 

Mayor of London 



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