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Ed Miliband is slammed by rail passenger for not wearing face mask

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 22/09/2021 Kate Dennett For Mailonline
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Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has been slammed by a train passenger who claimed he sat opposite her without wearing a mask, going against the rail firm's guidance.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 51, was travelling from Leeds to London on a London North Eastern Railway train on Sunday.

But the passenger sat opposite him for the journey claimed he spent up to 45 minutes working on his iPad before he put on a face covering. 

The passenger, who said she is asthmatic, said she was 'frustrated' that he was allegedly choosing not to wear a mask.

There is no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport after the remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England were lifted.

But LNER still ask customers to wear a face covering on trains and in stations, unless exempt.

And the latest guidance says the Government 'expects and recommends' masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces such as public transport. 

( © Provided by Daily Mail (

The passenger, who wishes to be anonymous, said she believes he only decided to put on the mask after receiving looks from others sat nearby.

She continued: 'I was wondering if he was going to have a drink and maybe that's why his mask was off, but I didn't see him drink once.

'I wasn't worried but felt frustrated because if I wasn't asthmatic, I would be wearing one myself like the majority of people on the train.

'I did find it a bit odd that someone of power did not wear it, but he eventually put it on so must have realised how it was coming across.'

She described the politician as 'very stressed' and said he was 'gesticulating' while he was typing, as if he was 'rehearsing'.

The passenger, who was travelling with her pet dog, added: 'He typed away furiously on his iPad from Wakefield Westgate to London Kings Cross.

'He only spoke when he couldn't find his ticket on his phone but finally presented it to the ticket guy on the train.

'He kept putting his head in his hands and gesticulating and pointing whilst typing, almost as if he was rehearsing something.

a man sitting at a table in front of a computer: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

'He tried a few times to order from the train app too but failed. He even got up to go to the toilet and left all of his belongings on the seat.

'I smiled a few times but didn't get anything back. He seemed very stressed and busy. I also don't want this to be a bashing of him because he is still only human.

'But he seemed very stressed, and I thought he might have said hello or acknowledged me and my dog.'

LNER still advises people to wear face coverings while traveling, with their website stating: 'Please continue to wear a face covering on our trains and in our stations, unless exempt.

'Thank you for being considerate of other customers and our colleagues.'

Ed Miliband has been approached for comment.

According to data published by the Office for National Statistics, use of facemasks across the country has been dropping since the Covid-19 peak at the beginning of May.

In May, 98 per cent of people claimed they had worn one in the past week when leaving their home.

That fell to 89 per cent this month, implying that 4.5million people in the UK stopped wearing any kind of garment over their mouth. 

In London, where facemasks are recommended on Transport for London services including Tubes and buses, compliance was at 82 per cent.

Mask mandates were first imposed for use on public transport last summer after the Government's half-hearted first attempt to get people back into offices after the first lockdown, and were gradually extended into every aspect of public life. 

People are no longer required by law to wear face coverings in certain settings now the remaining restrictions in England have been lifted.

Ed Miliband wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

But the latest guidance says the Government 'expects and recommends' masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces such as public transport.

Face coverings will continue to be compulsory in some locally operated public transport spaces.

People in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire will have to continue wearing face masks in bus stations operated by the combined authorities, while passengers using the Metro in the North East will also be required to wear a face covering.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also said face coverings will be required on Transport for London (TfL) services as a 'condition of carriage'.

This means enforcement officers would be able to deny access or eject passengers found to be non-compliant while using the TfL network.

Face coverings will also remain compulsory on Greater Manchester's Metrolink tram services and the Heathrow Express.

Cross-Channel train firm Eurostar, airlines such as British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair, plus Heathrow Airport will continue to require passengers to wear face coverings.

Heathrow Express, which operates services to London Paddington, said face coverings will remain mandatory.

But all other train companies such as Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express and Southeastern, plus major bus and coach companies including National Express and Megabus, will not demand mask-wearing.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), which represents major bus and coach operators such as National Express and Megabus, has also said that its members will not mandate the wearing of face coverings.

Minicab hailing app Uber has also said drivers and passengers will continue to be required to wear a mask even though they will no longer be required by law.

diagram: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson risked a backlash after he urged the nation to consider wearing facemasks in crowded places despite Cabinet Ministers ditching their masks at a packed meeting in 10 Downing Street.

Mr Johnson hosted a gathering of his Cabinet as he and his colleagues agreed the Government's Winter Plan - a package of measures to stop the spread of the virus in the coming months. 

The Prime Minister formally unveiled the Winter Plan at a press conference and urged people to 'consider wearing a face covering in crowded places'.

The Winter Plan sets out how the Government intends to 'manage' coronavirus this autumn and winter. It contains suggestions on how people can adjust their behaviour to reduce the spread of the disease.

The document states that 'it remains important for everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated, to follow behaviours and actions that reduce transmission and help to keep people safe'. 

Under a list of 'behaviours encouraged to prevent the spread', it states: 'Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed settings where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.' 

Mr Johnson told the press conference that the UK's vaccination rollout means 'we have one of the most free societies and one of the most open economies in Europe'. 

He said: 'And that's why we are now sticking with our strategy.

'In essence we're going to keep going. We will continue to offer testing. We will continue to urge everyone to be sensible, to be responsible, wash your hands, use ventilation, consider wearing a face covering in crowded places with people that you don't know, stay at home if you feel unwell, download and use the app.' 

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