Today the Portsmouth City Council Full Council meeting had to be abandoned because Councillor Matt Atkins, the Leader of the Conservative Group tested positive for Covid. A majority of Conservative councillors were at a meeting with him as a group last Friday.

As per the current national guidance, anyone who has come into contact with an individual who has tested positive for Covid-19, should self-isolate. While Conservative councillors claim they received negative results from lateral flow tests today, they should still have not attended today’s meeting, knowing they had been in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Indeed, after the furore at the weekend with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other Cabinet Members who tested positive for Covid-19 and were initially not self-isolating, they have been forced to do a U-turn because of public and political pressure.

By coming to the Full Council meeting today, Conservative councillors put Portsmouth people – including their own friends and family – at risk. All councillors in attendance, council officers – many of which are key workers – and any members of the public these councillors have come into contact with, have also been put at risk. Many councillors had to take time off work for today’s meeting and all of this time has been wasted.

This is what happens when the Prime Minister and his Party decides it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else. This is a slap in the face to the thousands of residents isolating in our city and this undermined local democracy.

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