Sajid Javid tells passengers to put their masks back on when using the Tube as 23 per cent of commuters admit they no longer bother wearing one

  • Health Secretary urges thousands of Tube passengers to ‘put masks back on’  
  • With UK about to enter winter months, Mr Javid said move was ‘common sense’ 
  • Urged caution for travellers and said he would wear a mask if travelling on Tube
  • Comes as thousands of women demand Mayor Sadiq Khan reinstate Night Tube services over fears for safety in wake of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa deaths

Sajid Javid has urged tens of thousands of Tube passengers to ‘put your masks back on’, as almost a quarter of passengers admitted they no longer use face coverings. 

The Health Secretary, 51, insisted he would follow Transport for London’s ‘common sense’ guidelines if he were travelling through the capital, after official figures showed a drop in the use of face masks on the Underground.

Mr Javid urged caution for travellers for the upcoming winter months and warned the ‘pandemic has not ended’, in an interview with the Evening Standard.  

Mr Javid said: ‘If the policy of Transport for London is wear a mask, which it is, people should respect that and absolutely wear a mask, I certainly would on the Tube.

‘It’s actually common sense. The pandemic has not ended.

‘We are in a much, much better place than we were before, the vaccines are working.

‘But there is still Covid around and if you are in a crowded place like the Tube, rush hour, it’s absolutely sensible to wear a mask.’ 

Mr Javid, 51, urged caution for Tube travellers for the upcoming winter months and warned the ‘pandemic has not ended’

Tens of thousands of Tube passengers have been told to ‘put your masks back on’, as Mr Javid backed the ‘common sense’ move with the UK about to enter the winter months

The Health Secretary’s latest comments come as TfL data shows a five per cent drop in the number of passengers who said they wear a mask on every journey in recent weeks

The Health Secretary’s latest comments come as TfL data shows a five per cent drop in the number of passengers who said they wear a mask on every journey in recent weeks.

77 per cent of Tube users claimed they wore a protective face covering on journeys between August 22 to September 18, down from 82 per cent figure between July 25 and August 21. 

The use of face coverings in public places was mandatory, unless exempt for health reasons, for Brits until ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19, 2021.

But TfL bus, train, tube and tram services have all issued guidelines warning passengers could be ‘refused entry, denied travel or told to leave stations’ if they refuse to wear a face mask without valid reason. 

Although not a legal requirement, wearing a face covering is now a ‘condition of carriage’ – meaning you can’t be fined for not wearing one but could be forced to leave. 

Since July 19, TfL enforcement officers have refused entry to 223 passengers and asked 53 people to leave services, reports the BBC. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has faced a public backlash from women over the decision to stop TfL’s Night Tube services in the wake of the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa

TfL bus, train, tube and tram services have all issued guidelines warning passengers could be ‘refused entry, denied travel or told to leave stations’ if they refuse to wear a face mask without valid reason

Mr Javid has promised widespread reforms within the NHS, following a public backlash over the announcement of a Government-backed £12billion National Insurance raid last month.

Ahead of the annual Conservative conference at the weekend, he promised to focus on touted improvements within the health service following the ‘tough decision’ to hike National Insurance rates.

‘I think there is very, very strong support in the party for the general direction, particular for the Prime Minister, and also in terms of our recent decisions around for example the health and care levy.

MPs backed a controversial £12 billion National Insurance tax raid to pay for health and social care in September

‘I think there is also a very strong understanding that it is the right thing to do.

‘It’s important that that money is spent incredibly carefully, it’s taxpayers’ money.

‘I’ll be very focused on what kind of reforms we need to make to ensure that.  

Mr Javid’s first major move as Health Secretary will see the formation of a new government body, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, which aims to curb growing regional health inequalities across the UK.

With guidance from Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, people will be encouraged to lead healthier lives in areas where public health is at its lowest, in order to provide greater life expectancy and alleviate pressure on health and social care systems. 

Mr Javid told the Standard of the widening disparity between life expectancy in London boroughs: ‘It’s deeply concerning.

‘When it comes to health outcomes, take life expectancy for example, within England between the different regions, there is a big difference, if you look at say Blackpool versus London, generally Blackpool a lot lower life expectancy.

‘But even within the same regions, so in our great city, the example Barking and Dagenham and Westminster…and you are losing life expectancy rapidly.

‘That is something that has been around for many years and it’s one of the key reasons that I want a much bigger focus on these health disparities and improvement of them.

‘It’s not going to happen overnight, people understand that, but it’s why I have set up the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.’

‘He’s responsible for policing and transport in our city. Londoners want action’: Women demand Sadiq Khan reopens the Night Tube so they can get home safely after murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa

By James Gant for MailOnline 

Sadiq Khan has been urged to reopen the Night Tube in London to ‘give women and girls a safer way home’ after a spate of high profile attacks in the city.

The Mayor was warned the service needs to resume and also be fitted with onboard CCTV to ‘tackle sexual assaults’.

The GLA Conservatives and women in the capital led calls for it to reopen in full following the brutal deaths of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa this year.

The killings have left women in the capital terrified and seen a sharp fall in trust in the Metropolitan Police after it was revealed Ms Everard’s attacker was a policeman.

It also comes at a time when taxi fares are high and harder to find due to a shortage of fuel in petrol stations across the country.

The Night Tube was suspended at the start of the pandemic as Britain went into lockdown and amid fury at the scrapping of the train drivers’ pay grade.

But Mr Khan and Transport for London have given no fixed date for when it will resume, only saying they ‘hope’ to reopen one or two lines this year.

The Mayor (pictured earlier this week) was warned the service needs to resume and also be fitted with onboard CCTV to ‘tackle sexual assaults’

The GLA Conservatives led calls for it to reopen in full following the brutal deaths of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa this year (file photo)

Tory GLA Transport spokesman Keith Prince told MailOnline: ‘As London’s nightlife returns, it’s essential the Mayor reopens the Night Tube to give women and girls a safer way home.

‘The service not only provides Londoners with more choice on how to travel at night, it provides a better lit transport option instead of waiting for a bus on dark streets.

‘But, the Mayor must do more to make women and girls feel safe on public transport. All Tube lines need to be fitted with onboard CCTV to tackle sexual assaults.

‘The Mayor should also provide free advertising space to the ‘report it to stop it’ campaign to tackle the 90 per cent of unwanted sexual behaviour that goes unreported.

‘It’s not good enough for the Mayor to say London’s streets are not safe for women and girls.

‘He’s responsible for policing and transport in our city. Londoners want to see action, not press statements.’

A petition was launched yesterday to bring back the Night Tube, with the creator saying it was because ‘London is such a dangerous place for women’.

She added in a tweet to Mr Khan and TfL: ‘Do something about it before even more lives are lost.’

Another person posted: ‘Bring back the night tube. It is outrageous and downright negligent that a city like London does not have 24h transport.’

One woman wrote: ‘London is now dangerous at night. After attempting to leave central at 1am last night I have never felt more stranded.

‘No night tubes & night buses half an hour, uber & bolt unavailable, how are women supposed to get home safely? And you wonder why people are getting hurt?’

Another said: ‘Why is the night tube not running yet? If everything else is open like normal then they should have travel options operating like normal as well.

‘Had to wait 30 mins for my bus to arrive last night after finishing my 9 hour shift, because one bus was just a complete no show.’

And one more added: ‘No night tube. £30 Ubers which take an hour to arrive. Nights getting darker.

‘CLEARLY London is not safe for women alone at night – although it shouldn’t be down to us to protect ourselves – HOW CAN WE WHEN WE HAVE TO WALK HOME ALONE?’

Since the country came out of lockdown in the summer, the number of people using public transport in London has surged.

And the reopening of pubs, bars and nightclubs has brought on the need for services such as the Night Tube.

Buses still weave across the capital throughout the night, but stops are often poorly lit and have minimal CCTV coverage.

Meanwhile London Underground stations have cameras, TfL workers on shift and are always lit. 

But the Mayor admitted there was no fixed for the return of the Night Tube, only saying he wanted it open ‘as quickly as possible’.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: ‘Sadiq is committed to taking action to improve safety for women in the capital and has been clear he wants to open the night tube as quickly as possible.

‘He has urged TfL to look into the feasibility of getting one or two lines reopened this year, which we hope will be possible.

‘TfL continue to run as close to a full service as possible across all their services and the Tube continues to serve central London with last trains leaving around 01:00 and starting again at 05:30. There extensive night bus network continues to operate throughout the city.’

The Night Tube usually runs on five lines on Fridays and Saturdays – Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly.

Meanwhile the London Overground would normally operate a 24-hour service on Fridays and Saturdays between New Cross Gate and Highbury and Islington.

The British Transport Police has more than 100 officers patrolling the 144 stations served by the Night Tube.

As well as being suspended due to the pandemic, there were also Night Tube issues due to staff pay.

In the summer workers planned to go on strike over plans to scrap Night Tube train drivers’ pay grade after talks between the union and London Underground failed.

The changes would mean instead of having a separate role for Night Tube train drivers all drivers would be expected to work a combination of shifts.

Strike action was proposed by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, which represents tube drivers, but called off at the last minute.

The union asked all drivers not to book into work after midday for 24 hours on August 3, 5, 24 and 26.

The union said London Underground proposed to axe the grade in ‘a cash-led move’ which threatened the loss of 200 jobs and the work life balance of 3,000 drivers.‎

The Night Tube usually runs on five lines on Fridays and Saturdays – Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly (file photo)

The fear around travelling at night in the city was sparked by the recent killings of Ms Everard and Ms Nessa.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said the Ms Everard’s case had struck a ‘devastating blow to the confidence people have in police officers’.

Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life sentence on Thursday for the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive.

Mr Malthouse told Sky: ‘They recognise that this has struck a devastating blow to the confidence that people have in police officers but also in the Met Police in particular.

‘For those thousands and thousands of police officers out there who will have to work harder – much harder – to win public trust, it is a very, very difficult time.’

Mr Malthouse said there are important lessons to learn from what happened.

He said: ‘My job is effectively to help the Home Secretary hold the police to account about what went wrong, how this monster slipped through the net to become a police officer, how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.’

But he joined several other politicians and policing figures in rejecting mounting calls for Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to resign.

He added: ‘She is a dedicated and talented and committed police officer who is driving the Metropolitan Police to ever greater standards of care and improvement and fighting crime.’


Wayne Couzens (left) exchanged misogynistic, racist and homophobic texts with his police colleagues who are now facing a criminal investigation, it has been reported, as Dame Cressida Dick (right) faces calls to resign

The police watchdog is investigating the conduct of 15 officers and one former officer linked to the Sarah Everard (pictured) case

Sabina Nessa, 28, originally from Bedfordshire. Ms Nessa was killed as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17. A man has been charged with murder and awaits trial

The Met is facing questions as to how Couzens was able to get a job with the force despite allegations made against him earlier in his career – prompting a wider debate over whether police vetting rules are strict enough.

Mr Malthouse told BBC Breakfast: ‘One of the lessons that we will need to learn is the allegations that were made against him – where those investigations led to, why they did not pop up on his vetting or have any impact in his employment with the Metropolitan Police. That is currently under investigation.’

Jess Phillips, Labour’s shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said trust in police is ‘not going to be built back overnight’, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It is going to be built up if we see the Government and police forces starting to actually take violence against women and girls, and the complaints that women make day in, day out, seriously.’

While a lack of trust in police by women who do not feel that violence and crime against them is prioritised was a concern even before Ms Everard’s killing, Ms Phillips said she feels for the ‘really brilliant’ police officers all across the country.

Helen King, a former assistant chief constable at Merseyside Police, told the radio programme it is important to ensure ‘good, morally and physically courageous people with high levels of integrity’ want to join the police and see it as an attractive career.

She said ‘hundreds and thousands’ of women have benefited from the ‘professional and sensitive support’ of police officers in cases of domestic abuse and sexual offences.

She added: ‘I think we need to recognise that there isn’t a magic simple answer to this.

‘We all want it to stop, but there isn’t just one action which is going to make that difference.’

How events in the Sarah Everard case unfolded

  • 2015: Kent Police allegedly fail to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to Wayne Couzens.
  • September 2018: Couzens transfers to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC).
  • 2019: Couzens and his wife buy a small area of woodland off Fridd Lane in Ashford, Kent.
  • February 2019: The Pc joins a response team covering the Bromley area of south London, having initially served in a Safer Neighbourhood Team.
  • February 2020: He moves to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.
  • February 2021: The 48-year-old is linked to two allegations of indecent exposure in London, which it is claimed Scotland Yard failed to investigate.
  • February 28: Couzens books a white Vauxhall Astra from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card. He also purchases a roll of self-adhesive film advertised as a carpet protector on Amazon.
  • March 2: 7pm – Couzens starts a 12-hour shift at his base in West Brompton, west London.
  • March 3: On the day of her disappearance, Sarah Everard visits a friend in the Clapham Junction area and uses her bank card to buy a bottle of wine in Sainsbury’s in Brixton Hill, south London, on her way.
  • 4.45pm – Couzens collects the hire car.
  • 9pm – Ms Everard leaves to walk home, some 2.5 miles away.
  • 9.13pm – She calls her boyfriend for a little over 14 minutes.
  • 9.15pm – Ms Everard is captured alone on CCTV at the junction of Bowood Road and the South Circular.
  • 9.28pm – The next sighting is on Cavendish Road and she is still alone.
  • 9.32pm – Ms Everard is caught on the camera on a marked police car.
  • 9.35pm – A bus camera captures two figures on Poynders Road standing beside a white Vauxhall Astra parked on the pavement with hazard lights flashing.
  • 9.38pm – Another bus camera captures the same vehicle with the two front car doors open.
  • – March 4: 1am – Having travelled out of London, the car is in the Tilmanstone area of Kent.
  • 8.30am – Couzens returns the hire car used in the abduction.
  • 8.10pm – Ms Everard is reported missing by her boyfriend, Josh Lowth.
  • March 5: The case is escalated and the Specialist Crime Unit becomes involved. Couzens, who is due to be off until March 8, reports to work that he is suffering with stress.
  • 2pm – He buys two green rubble bags for £9.94 at B&Q in Dover.
  • March 6: Couzens emails his supervisor that he no longer wants to carry a firearm. He orders a tarpaulin and a bungee cargo net on Amazon which are shipped to him the next day.
  • March 8: The officer reports in sick on the day he is due to return to work.
  • March 9: 7.11pm – Couzens’ phone is wiped of all data.
  • 7.50pm – Couzens is arrested at his home in Deal, Kent. In a brief interview, he tells a story about being threatened by an Eastern European gang.
  • March 10: At around 4.45pm, a body is discovered in a wooded area in Ashford, Kent, and later formally identified by dental records. It is around 100 metres from land owned by Couzens.
  • March 11: Couzens answers “no comment” in formal interviews.
  • March 12: 8.45pm: Couzens is charged.
  • July 9: Couzens pleads guilty to murder when he appears at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh high security jail. 
  • September 29: Couzens faces a possible whole life order when he is sentenced.

 

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