George Floyd death: Black Lives Matter protests ‘absolutely need to go ahead’, says Shaun Bailey

Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for London mayor, has contradicted the health secretary on the issue of protests.

Breaking up protests over the death of George Floyd to maintain social distancing guidance risk “bottling up” tension that may lead to violence, London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has said.

Thousands of Black Lives Matter activists have gathered in the capital this week to demonstrate, and many are expected to defy pleas from Health Secretary Matt Hancock with more mass gatherings across the weekend.

Speaking at Friday’s Downing Street coronavirus briefing, Mr Hancock said that while he was “appalled” about the death of Mr Floyd, people should avoid large protests so that they can adhere to social distancing.

But Shaun Bailey, the Conservatives’ choice to take on Sadiq Khan in next year’s delayed London mayoral election, has said stopping people from demonstrating would only “store up trouble for the summer”.