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Rainham councillor condemned for claiming Covid-19 threat has been inflated

Councillor David Durant accused the government of promoting “fear porn” 

A concerned mother from Rainham has criticised her local councillor for claiming the government has inflated the seriousness of coronavirus. 

Stacey McCann’s youngest child suffers from severe asthma and she is worried about him being exposed to Covid-19 if he returns to school in September. 

She has been working with the Boycott Return to Unsafe Schools (BRTUS) campaign who contacted her local representative, Councillr David Durant, on her behalf. 

They asked Cllr Durant if he would support the government in fining parents who refuse to send their kids back to school next month. 

However, Stacey was shocked when he told her “the government has decided to vastly inflate the seriousness of coronavirus and launch a vastly disproportionate response which will make the cure worse than the disease.”

Cllr Durant said almost no children have suffered from or transmitted the virus and sent her a link to a website which claims the government has acted illegally by enforcing a lockdown. 

Stacey told Time 107.5 she was “gobsmacked” by his response and had to read the email twice to make sure it was from him. 

“It comes across as if he’s saying that everything we have done is totally pointless and is actually harming our children rather than keeping them safe,” Stacey said. 

“Linking far right virus denying websites in emails to constituents is so beyond professional it is unbelievable.

“I don’t feel comfortable even replying to him because I worry about what he is going to be saying to me next.” 

Cllr Durant later said: “Lockdown was a huge mistake that will have a massive knock-on effect. More people will be dying because of lockdown from cancelled operations and treatments.

“The Government telling people staying indoors is good for you is nonsense. The figures were inflated. There will be massive economic victims.

“Schools are safe, it is the Government promoting fear porn. Once you terrorise people they are scared. Children are more likely to get struck by lightning than catch Covid-19.”

However, his comments have sparked a backlash from the local community. 

Jade Foster-Jerrett, from Collier Row, lost her father Larry to coronavirus and was appalled by Cllr Durant’s claims. 

“As a parent myself it is very concerning that a local councillor is not giving us the help and support we are looking for,” Jade said. 

“It’s very insensitive and he needs to know this is real people reaching out for help. If we haven’t got their backing, where are we going to turn to?”

A spokesperson for Havering Council said: “As far as we’re aware, Councillor Durant is not a qualified medical professional or qualified public health expert.

“Scientific evidence from experts, plus the deaths of more than 40,000 bereaved families in the UK, suggests that residents and businesses should continue to follow the government advice to reduce the risk of new local restrictions.

“Covid-19 has not gone away. We’ve seen the infection rates drop in Havering recently, but rising in other parts of the country. We all need to remain sensible to ensure that we stop the infection spreading.”

The council’s cabinet member for public health, Cllr Jason Frost, also criticised Cllr Durant for using a resident’s legitimate concerns to “propagate his own particular brand of extreme libertarian ideology.” 

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

 

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