Labour MP Tahir Ali was one of 100 mourners to defy their city council’s six person funeral limit on Wednesday, prompting calls to the police. Ali, whose party has criticised the Government for not implementing harsher quarantine measures, attended two funerals on the same day…
Labour controlled Birmingham City Council imposed a six person limit for funerals last week – a far harsher restriction than Government guidelines which exempt funerals from the lockdown and, whilst not stipulating numbers, urge social distancing.
In a statement to the Birmingham Mail, Ali is now calling on his own Labour council to relax their limit:
“Let’s be sensible – some families are large. Everybody will want to turn up. We can accommodate that and make sure social distancing is observed. We need to apply common sense.”
Whilst putting out that statement before he defied his council’s diktat would have been more honourable, Ali has a point. Restrictions that are too tough or last too long will become less and less effective as people will just ignore them…
UPDATE: Ali has apologised for attending the funeral. In a statement Tweeted out, Tahir says:
“I apologise unreservedly for the confusion caused by my presence as an observer at a funeral in Sutton Goldfield on Wednesday. I will not be attending any other similar gatherings.
I wholeheartedly support the Government’s measures on social distancing to prevent the spread Coronavirus and urge everyone to follow them, in all our interests. I want to pay particular tribute to the outstanding work being done by our police. NHS and other statutory bodies in these most challenging of circumstances.
It is clear that the message is not getting through and that a unified approach is needed by local authorities in the West Midlands and across the UK, with explicit guidance on funeral attendance, to avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s scenes.
I want to play my part in establishing a set of clear rules that allow a safe number of mourners, while doing everything necessary to protect our NHS and save lives.”