Labour MP Barry Gardiner defends breach of social distancing rules during Black Lives Matter protest

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A Labour MP today defended his breach of social distancing rules during yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protest in London.

Brent North MP Barry Gardiner was criticised in the Commons after kneeling down among a crowd of demonstrators outside Parliament.

Conservative MP Imran Ahman Khan said Mr Gardiner had ‘flagrantly flouted the law’ and should be forced to undergo a period of self-isolation.

Mr Gardiner, a former member of Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench team, said it was impossible to observe social distancing rules during the protest.

I know I had an obligation to set an example. The rules are important in overcoming this epidemic and I do not want my action to undermine people’s willingness to maintain social distancing. The anger generated by my breach of the social distancing rules must not be allowed to detract from the vital message that Black Lives Matter and that we all have an obligation to fight racism.

BARRY GARDINER MP, LABOUR, BRENT NORTH

City Hall Conservatives today called on mayor Sadiq Khan to ‘discourage’ large scale protests in London until the coronavirus outbreak was over.

Yesterday’s Black Lives Matter demonstration made it clear that protests must be a thing of the past until coronavirus is beaten. Currently it’s simply not possible for thousands of people to demonstrate on London’s streets safely.

SUSAN HALL, LONDON ASSEMBLY CONSERVATIVE LEADER

Clashes between police and protesters near Downing Street led to 13 arrests.