Keir Starmer has clashed with a man in Bath who claimed the Labour leader had “failed this country” because his party backed coronavirus lockdowns.
The opposition leader was campaigning near The Raven pub, in the Somerset city, when the man approached him and began shouting.
“Do you understand we have fucked our economy because old people are dying?”, he said, handing Starmer a printout of a graph he claimed showed official statistics.
“You’ve failed me,” the man said. “I have been a Labour voter my entire life. You have failed to be the opposition. You have failed to ask whether lockdown was functioning?
“Thousands of people have died because you have failed to ask the real questions.”
He went on: “You have allowed our children to wear masks in schools when there has never been any evidence for it.”
A clip circulating online shows Keir Starmer being confronted by someone spreading dangerous misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic. We will not be amplifying it. 1/2— Labour Press (@labourpress) April 19, 2021
Keir argued that our NHS staff have been working tirelessly to protect public health and that restrictions - while painful - have been absolutely necessary to save lives. 2/2— Labour Press (@labourpress) April 19, 2021
Boris Johnson ordered the first of three national lockdowns last March, when NHS workers warned hospitals faced being overwhelmed due to the rising numbers of cases.
Health chiefs cautioned that unless severe restrictions were imposed, lives would be lost as wards would no longer have the capacity to treat patients.
Starmer told the man he had listened to care workers on the front line and, and said: “I really don’t need lectures from you about the pandemic.”
Eventful trip to the Raven in Bath for Labour leader Keir Starmer.— Stephen Sumner (@StephenSumner15) April 19, 2021
Warning - bad language from landlord Rod Humphreys pic.twitter.com/gjNtCsok6F
He later told the man to “calm down” as he began shouting that staff should not let “this man” in the pub.
Starmer later told reporters that he and the man “profoundly disagree” over the issue of lockdown.
He said: “Well look, somebody approached me, and from what I could understand he profoundly thought we shouldn’t have had a lockdown, we shouldn’t have restrictions, and I’m not sure he really thought there was a pandemic.
“He’s entitled to that view. I profoundly disagree with him. I think the vast majority of people in Bath and across the country profoundly disagree with him.
“He is entitled to that view. Some people do take the view we don’t need restrictions. I don’t because I’ve seen the number of people who have tragically lost their lives from this virus.
“I don’t because my wife works in the NHS and I know the impact on her hospital of the virus and how close it was to being overwhelmed.”
He added: “He took different view. I profoundly disagree.”
Lockdowns have been particularly tough on the hospitality industry, which has lost months of trade over Christmas and in the summer.
Starmer was campaigning ahead of the local elections, which are due to take place in May.