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Coronavirus could deepen Britain’s North-South divide, Sir Keir Starmer says

PA Media logoPA Media 29/05/2020 By Helen William, PA
Keir Starmer wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Sir Keir Starmer (PA) © Dominic Lipinski Sir Keir Starmer (PA)

The coronavirus crisis could deepen Britain’s North-South divide, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer fears. But he says it is an issue which could be helped by proper investment in the regions.

In an article for the Yorkshire Post, Sir Keir states: “The North-South divide is continuing to grow. That gulf is even starker in coalfield communities like Doncaster. “Without Government action, there is a real risk the coronavirus deepens the existing injustices and inequalities.”

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More on coronavirus:

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Lockdown laws: What has changed? (PA)

How to stay safe working, travelling and shopping (Sky News)

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After Labour was soundly beaten in its traditional heartlands by the Conservatives at last year’s general election, Sir Keir says his party has “a mountain to climb” to regain public trust. He went on a virtual visit to speak with Doncaster residents, and he found a pressing concern is to repay the service of key workers.

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings (Yui Mok/PA) © Provided by PA Media Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings (Yui Mok/PA) He wrote: “The past few months have shown us so clearly who the key workers really are. Our NHS staff, carer workers, ambulance drivers, porters, shop keepers, police and emergency services.

“It is because of their dedication and sense of public service that Yorkshire has kept moving. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.” There has been public outrage after allegations that Dominic Cummings, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser, broke lockdown rules by travelling from his London home to Durham with his family.

Sir Keir wrote: “Dominic Cummings broke the lockdown rules. It is as simple as that. His actions were an insult to the millions of people across Yorkshire and the United Kingdom who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic.”

Gallery: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the UK (Photos)

Mr Johnson has ruled out an inquiry into Mr Cummings’ actions at the height of the lockdown, and has insisted he acted reasonably and it is time to “move on” from the row.

Stay at home as much as possible to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP. 

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