City MP Claudia Webbe has attacked the Government’s failure to take every possible step to halt the coronavirus outbreak.
The MP for Leicester East said the decision not to introduce a “circuit-breaker” lockdown across the country was further inaction that would lead to disproportionate suffering among black and ethnic minority communities.
Commenting on the Office for National Statistics data on the ethnicity of Covid-19 casualties, she said: “It is beyond dispute that Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
“Males of black African ethnic background had the highest rate of death, which was 2.7 times higher than males of white ethnic background.
“Women of a black Caribbean ethnic background also had the highest rate, which is two times higher than females of white ethnic background.”
She said the Sage advisory group of scientists and other experts should have been listened to when they recommended a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown across the country this month.
It emerged recently that the experts had suggested a two-week lockdown over the school half-term could have effectively stalled the virus for about four weeks.
Ms Webbe said: “In May, I asked the Prime Minister how he intended to protect African, Asian and minority ethnic communities from the virus.
“Five months later, his government still refuses to take any actions that would specifically protect our communities.
“The Government claims to be following the science. Yet just weeks ago, they were urged by SAGE to introduce a two-week circuit breaker lockdown.
“The Governments’ own group of scientific experts said that the second wave of the virus would ‘fall disproportionately on lower incomes and BAME communities’.
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“The fact that the government ignored this clear scientific advice is a scandal and demonstrates their contempt towards the working class and African, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
“I urge the government to abandon this head-in-the-sand approach and to push for a zero-Covid strategy to protect everyone in the UK and especially those who the virus has disproportionately affected.”
Next month the 55-year-old MP, who replaced the shamed MP Keith Vaz on the 2019 General Election ballot paper, is due in court, having been charged with harassment by the Metropolitan Police.
Ms Webbe is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 11 to face one count of harassment between September 1, 2018, and April 26, 2020.
In a statement last month she said: “I am innocent of any wrongdoing and look forward to proving this in court.
“I will be vigorously defending myself against these claims.”
Ms Webbe was elected as a Labour MP but is suspended by the Labour Party while the criminal case takes place.