Good morning. On Monday, the government lifts the legal requirement for British people to wear masks on public transport. Domestic railway operators and bus companies have also announced that they will no longer wear masks from next week. However, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he had been cut off from his fellow transport chief (who runs Transport for London) and that face coverings would remain mandatory on buses, tubes and other TfL services in the capital. His press release for the announcement is here and here is the story of my colleague Gwyn Tophams.
Khan’s approach contrasts sharply with the policies of the British government (although it is consistent with the approaches of the Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Irish Parliament). So perhaps you can expect Westminster ministers to be critical? But this morning, Transport Minister Grant Sapps said Khan’s policy was justified. He told Times Radio.
We expect carriers to provide regulations or conditions of carriage appropriate to their circumstances. And obviously the London Underground is a particularly congested network. And of course we said that people should wear masks in crowded places. So, in the same way that airlines made regulations, we actually expected the TfL to invite them to do the same. So there are no surprises. And if you think about it, it makes sense.
We have moved from a point of crisis where everything is regulated by law to a point of some personal responsibility, in which case we ask the carrier to clarify the travel conditions for certain networks. .
If mandatory wearing of masks on public transport is such a good idea, why did the government continue to reject legislation on it? On the Today program, Khan asked Nick Robinson if Boris Johnson thought he wanted credit to his supporters for crying out for freedom, although he always knew that the TfL would keep masks mandatory. [Khan] Some practice wearing masks. Khan responded diplomatically:
Good luck to anyone who can read Boris Johnson’s mind. I’m not sure.
Here is today’s schedule.
10am: Wales’ first Minister, Mark Drakeford, presents evidence to the State Constitutional Commission on Britain’s future.
12pm: Boris Johnson will face Sir Keir Starmer at PMQ.
12:30pm: Home Secretary answers Labor’s urgent question about racist abuse on social media.
Around 1:30 PM: Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis makes a statement to lawmakers about plans to introduce a statute of limitations to end all charges related to the matter prior to 1998.
Around 2:30 PM: Transport Minister Grant Shapps makes a statement to lawmakers on his plan to decarbonize transportation.
3:15 PM: Commons Representative Jacob Rees-Mogg gives evidence to the Commons Committee on Women and Equality of having a gender-sensitive parliament.
4:00 PM: Brexit Minister Lord Frost provides evidence to the Lords Subcommittee on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
5:15pm: Drakeford holds a press conference on the Covid rule change in Wales.
Politics Live has recently been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news, and it will probably still be today. Follow the global Covid live blog to learn more about coronavirus developments.
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