THE YORKSHIRE Party is calling on the government to prioritise keeping schools open, as new lockdown measures are being introduced across the North.

Party leader Bob Buxton, who is a full time teacher, said: “We have to choose the lesser evils, no one wants to see pubs, cafés, restaurants or other social outlets close but surely that would be better than denying children even more of their education and childhood. The cost of compensating social outlets would be high but not as high as a full second lockdown.”

“The lack of social interaction from March until schools reopened recently, will have had a terrible effect on some children’s maturity and social skills – these are just as important as academy learning, if not more so.”

“Closing schools must be the absolute last resort in fighting Covid-19. Even then, the Yorkshire Party would repeat its call for compulsory live lessons over the internet. Indeed, such contingencies should be drawn up immediately. As it stands, the Government is sleepwalking into a second lockdown, with little better planning for schools than the first.”

The Yorkshire Party has also criticised the Government’s decision to deny Leeds City Council’s request for a bar and pub curfew of 10pm.

Dr Buxton, who lives in Rawdon, said: “Surely local government should at least be allowed to impose stricter measures than national government? The situation in Leeds is on a knife edge. National government won’t impose sufficient measures, local government can’t. The Tories’ weak mayoral devolution deal will do nothing to change this. This is an important example of why we need a regional parliament with powers similar to Scotland and Wales.”

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously stressed that ministers will prioritise keeping schools open this winter as they tackle the upsurge in coronavirus cases.