Beleaguered Centrist MP Virendra Sharma has been pictured attending an illegal gathering in his Ealing Southall Constituency.
A You Tube video posted on the 8 March shows an artist discussing Sharma presenting him with a prize for his work in the music business at a recording studio in Southall in the midst of the pandemic. The musician also described driving to Southall from his West Midlands base with two others to receive an award certificate from Sharma on 6 March – two days before the government’s phased lockdown-lifting began.
This photo shows Virendra Sharma (centre) without a mask and without social distancing in place and with three people handling the certificate frame at the same time with bare hands.
The artist made clear in the streamed video interview that the event took place last Saturday evening:
National lockdown rules in force at the time did not allow being outside the home except where necessary and for legally permitted reasons – which did not include award ceremonies. The police can break up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices) of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
A local doctor has condemned Virendra Sharma pointing out that Southall is a vulnerable, economically deprived BAME community that has been ravaged by the coronavirus, with a part of the borough going into ‘super-lockdown’ after the South African variant was found there.
Last weekend when the event took place the average number of cases per 100,000 in Ealing was 188 and in Southall 400, above the London and national averages. The doctor said:
MPs should be setting an example given that they are meant to keep abreast of the pandemic on behalf of their constituents and act in their best interests. [Sharma’s] behaviour is utterly reprehensible, gives out a signal not to take the coronavirus seriously and encourages others to jeopardise their own and others health. He should face the full force of the law as a warning to others.
SKWAWKBOX understands that Mr Sharma has now been reported to the Metropolitan Police for the breach. London Labour Regional Executive Committee members covering for his constituency party CLP have complained about the MP bringing the Labour party into disrepute. MPs from all parties who have broken lockdown rules previously have been reprimanded or lost the party whip.
Local Anita Sandhu, commenting on Facebook about the breach, said:
This is disgusting so we abide rules [sic], Southall highest risk area. So this guy told us stay home no gatherings he had Covid. What will Labour do brush it under carpet. Not only gathering but inviting from out of London ridiculous. So you put our lives at risk.
A SKWAWKBOX representative contacted Virendra Sharma and put the allegations to him. He appeared to deny or minimise the seriousness of the issue by saying ‘No, it’s nothing’ before cutting off the call.
Sharma has previously seen local members pass a vote of no confidence against him, protest for his removal as a general election candidate and successfully ‘trigger’ a selection contest in an attempt to replace him.
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