Ahead of a crunch vote in the House of Commons this week, Liberal Democrats teamed up with pubs, restaurants and community clubs across the country to launch a “Keep the lights on” campaign in protest at the 10pm curfew.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Judith Rogerson has warned that no evidence has been published that Boris Johnson’s enforced curfew is good for public health and with “jobs on the line” she have called on Andrew Jones MP to vote against the curfew.
Venues across the country were urged to flash their lights in an 'SOS' Morse Code pattern in the minutes after the enforced shutdown on Friday and Saturday. The campaign was supported by both the Campaign for Real Ale and the Night Time Industry Association.
While Labour Leader Keir Starmer has also ruled out opposing Boris Johnson’s curfew next week, the Liberal Democrats want to see a return to staggered leaving times instead of a 10pm closure that has seen mass crowds on the streets and public transport.
With rates on the rise in some parts of the country, Liberal Democrats are also calling on the Government to guarantee that furlough remains available to businesses that are put into lockdown while not penalising those that can open with the arbitrary 10pm curfew.
Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson Judith Rogerson for Harrogate & Knaresborough said:
"With Ministers failing to publish any evidence that the 10pm curfew works, people are right to raise questions when it appears to be undermining other public health measures and is putting their jobs on the line.
"It is time for Ministers to either come forward with the evidence behind it, or rethink the curfew. I have written to Andrew Jones to ask him to stand up for local pubs and refuse to back Boris Johnson’s curfew.”
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper, who launched the campaign, added:
“Scenes of pub-goers getting kicked out onto the streets and onto public transport in large groups at 10pm has shown that the curfew is bad for public health and bad for business.
“Of course we need to do everything we can to keep people safe, and hospitality venues have gone the extra mile in making their venues covid-secure. However, the 10pm curfew sticks out like a sore-thumb.
“If the Government puts pubs and restaurants into lockdown in some parts of the country to tackle the virus then it must first guarantee support such as furlough and grants, but those that can remain open should not be penalised with the arbitrary 10pm curfew.”