London Assembly member and candidate for London Mayor David Kurten has labelled ongoing COVID lockdown restrictions ‘destructive’.
Ex-UKIP member David Kurten criticised the measures as unnecessary and claimed the Government is overstating the risk of the virus.
Kurten’s comments come as the UK reached the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths of people who tested positive for COVID-19.
Kurten, 49, said: “It’s completely disproportionate the action that the Government has taken. It’s destructive to the fabric of society as a whole.
“We need to end this now. It’s not the Black Death.
“There is a virus, it’s a little bit more virulent then most coronaviruses, but not something that needs these destructive lockdown measures.”
But Kurten advocates the Swedish model, now largely seen to have been a failure, as the way out of the current crisis, rather than continued lockdowns.
Kurten has been a London Assembly member since 2016, entering as a UKIP candidate, but left the party last year to set up his own faction, the Heritage Party, with a distinct focus on ‘traditional family values’.
He is also yet to be convinced about getting a COVID vaccine, as he says they are unnecessary, although he insists he is not an anti-vaxxer, as he supports jabs for other illnesses such as whooping cough and diphtheria.
He said: “These vaccines are not vaccines as we know them.
“I am not going to take a COVID vaccine myself because there is no need and I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody else.
“The narrative that is coming through is that we need a lockdown and vaccines are the way out. This is totally false.”
Earlier this month Kurten clashed with current mayor Sadiq Khan over the latter’s response to the pandemic after he declared a major incident in the capital on 8 January.
But COVID isn’t the only area where he has been critical of the Labour incumbent.
One of Kurten’s main pledges is to remove controversial low traffic neighbourhoods, of which there are nearly a hundred around Greater London.
In 2019, 50% of London emissions were caused by polluting vehicles. Around 2 million people in the capital live in areas that exceed air pollution limits.
He said: “There’s no need to put in these blockages on roads that have never had them before.
“Private cars are not the main issue with air quality. By putting them in you are stopping business vehicles, ambulances, you stop taxis from getting where they are needed.
“You are stopping people, for example, carers who need to use their cars to get to the neighbourhoods where the people they are caring for live.”
Last year he launched his bid for Mayor under his new political group with the Trumpian slogan ‘Make London great again’.
Complimentary of the last four years of politics across the pond, Kurten said: “I think he was a great President.
“I think we need something similar in this country, to make London great again, to make London safe again, to make it a place that people are happy being in, a proud patriotic city.”
On the topic of patriotism, and as a long-time advocate of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, Kurten was optimistic on the capital’s post-Brexit prospects, albeit with some reservations that the trade deal struck at the end of last year had given up too much sovereignty in areas such as fishing.
He said: “It’s good in the sense that tariff-free and quota-free goods will continue, it’s good also that we are out of the customs union and single market and all of the EU’s regulations.
“London can engage on our own terms and not have to bow to the EU commission.”
But the Paris Climate Agreement remains a bugbear for him, as he claims the trading agreements would make energy ‘very very expensive’.
The Paris agreement was signed with the intent of bringing global warming to below 2 degrees celsius, and achieving carbon neutrality by the mid century.
He said: “It will make us reliant on renewable energy. This is now orthodoxy amongst the main political parties. But it’s not an orthodoxy that I would subscribe to.”
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Main image credit: David Kurten