20 Apr 2021

UK Labour Party leader thrown out of English pub in lockdown row

6:48 am on 20 April 2021

Shouting "Get out of my pub", a landlord in southern England threw out opposition Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and berated him for what he said was his failure to challenge the government's Covid-19 lockdown.

British Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer leaves the BBC headquarters in London, United Kingdom on January 10 2021.

British Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer pictured in London in January (file photo). Photo: AFP / 2021 Anadolu Agency

Starmer, who was on a campaign trip in the city of Bath before local elections next month, told reporters he "profoundly disagreed" with some of the man's views, including when he questioned whether there should be coronavirus restrictions.

Politicians across the world can often be wrong-footed when they take their message directly to the public, but the scenes of a landlord shouting at Starmer and being restrained by his security were a more dramatic encounter than most.

The landlord, identified as Rod Humphris by the BBC, told Starmer: "You have failed me. I have been a Labour voter my entire life. You have failed to be the opposition, you have failed to ask whether lockdown was functioning.

"Do you understand thousands of people have died because you have failed to do your job and ask the real questions."

He said the economy had been sacrificed "because old people are dying".

The Labour leader, who listened to the landlord, told him he disagreed.

Shortly afterwards he told reporters Humphris "profoundly didn't believe that we should have had a lockdown, he didn't believe there should be restrictions and he queried to some extent, I think, whether there was a pandemic at all.

"Now obviously he is entitled to that view. I'm afraid I profoundly disagree and I think most people across the country would profoundly disagree."

He said people on the front line were risking their lives dealing with the pandemic and "the vast majority recognise the lockdown is necessary and the restrictions are necessary".

The Labour leader was on a campaign visit to Bath ahead of the May elections. He had stepped inside the pub for a visit that had been pre-arranged with one of the owners. The co-owner, Tim Perry, has since apologised to Labour.

The Labour Party press office tweeted that it will "not be amplifying" the footage of the Labour leader being confronted.

The tweets said: "A clip circulating online shows Keir Starmer being confronted by someone spreading dangerous misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Keir argued that our NHS staff have been working tirelessly to protect public health and that restrictions - while painful - have been absolutely necessary to save lives.

- Reuters / BBC

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