Sat. Nov 28th, 2020

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Council Leader responds to Michael Gove comments

2 min read
Council Leader Dave Stewart says that Islanders should not be used as guinea pigs to lift Covid-19 restrictions early, putting him at odds with a senior cabinet minister.

The Leader of the IW Council Dave Stewart has responded to comments made by Michael Gove when he evidence to a senior House of Commons Committee yesterday. 

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster used a video link to tell MPs on the Political and Constitutional Affairs Committee that MP Bob Seely had suggested that we may trial contact tracing on the Isle of Wight before it is rolled out nationwide, and if we do that, that we might be able to use the Isle of Wight as an opportunity to see how we can relax those measures’.  Mr Seely had previously said he was ‘delighted’ that the Island may be chosen for testing an NHS app which would ‘give extra layers of protection’ but denied that it would lead to lockdown measures being lifted earlier here than elsewhere.

Cllr Stewart told the IW Observer: “I am comfortable with the smartphone digital contact App coming early to the Island and pleased that we will now have a permanent testing station.  This will enable us to trace more people who are suffering from Covid-19 and also identify people who do not have the virus. However I am against any early lifting of lockdown procedures here. I am very aware that we have a high number of elderly and vulnerable residents and the Isle of Wight Council will go to great lengths to shield and protect them.  There is nothing more important than the safety of our community’.

Cllr Stewart last week told the IW Observer that he did not want to see the Island used as ‘a guinea-pig for anything’.