Boris Johnson made a “huge mistake” in lifting England’s last remaining coronavirus restrictions all at once, Sir Keir Starmer has said.
The Labour leader instead appeared to favour the more gradual approach being taken in Scotland by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
While the Scottish Government is to lift most of the remaining restrictions north of the border on Monday, face masks will remain mandatory on public transport and in shops, and will also be worn by secondary school pupils when they go back to classes.
Ms Sturgeon is also telling Scots they should still continue to work from home where they can, rather than returning to the office, with companies being urged to consider adopting “hybrid” working models, which combine home and office working.
While Sir Keir accepted “everybody wants to see the lifting of restrictions”, he stressed this should be done in a “cautious, careful way”.
Speaking during a visit to Scotland, the Labour leader said: “I think that Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, made a huge mistake in just lifting everything in one go.
“We were strongly arguing we should have mandatory face masks, particularly on public transport and in enclosed spaces, and ventilation, and continuing some of the working at home, so there would be a gradual easing, because none of us want to go back into another lockdown.”
He added: “We all want restrictions to fall away, but let’s do it in a cautious, careful way so that we truly can say the last lockdown is the last one.”