A "FALSE sense of security" has led to an increase in COVID-19 infection rates for wards taken out of the Bradford district local lockdown, the Leader of Bradford Council has claimed.

Council leader, Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “Some of the places which have been taken out of local restrictions are now amongst the highest infected in the district – notably Silsden, Steeton, Bingley, Shipley and Windhill. I worry that coming out of local restrictions has given people in these places a false sense of security."

Shipley MP Philip Davies said: “I am sorry the Leader of Bradford Council has such a low opinion of the people who live in these wards – including Windhill where she is supposed to represent – but as a Socialist it is no surprise she thinks the state knows best and people can’t be trusted. People haven’t been given a false sense of security in those places, we have seen an increase in infections right across the country over the last couple of weeks."

The news comes after Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore made a recommendation to lift local lockdown measures for three Keighley wards as a campaign group sought answers from him after his support resulted in nine of 30 Bradford wards being removed from local lockdown two weeks ago.

Craven, Ilkley and Worth Valley wards in the Keighley parliamentary constituency and all six wards in the Shipley constituency – Baildon, Bingley, Bingley Rural, Shipley, Wharfedale and Windhill and Wrose saw local restrictions lifted on September 2.

Many of these areas, such as Steeton and Silsden, border Keighley but have had high numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Mr Moore said: “Last week I recommended that the remaining three wards (Keighley East, West and Central) be removed from the areas facing additional restrictions in the Bradford Metropolitan District Council area.

"I have always advocated following the COVID data and imposing restrictions on a localised basis, rather than full ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ Bradford district wide approach which has constantly been promoted by the Bradford Council leadership.

"The data provided to me last week showed a clear and consistent decline in COVID transmissions in those wards over the past few weeks and on that basis I believe they should have been brought in line with the national restriction levels.”

Bec Severs, who set up the Get Keighley Out of Local Lockdown Facebook campaign group, said Mr Moore's recommendation was a positive for people living in the three Keighley wards, but she also said that everyone needs to wary because the infection rates in Bradford are "sky high".

She said: "Are they going to lock everybody down because the rates are going up?"

Despite Mr Moore's recommendation about lifting the lockdown for the Keighley wards, Coun Hinchcliffe said: “It is a decision entirely for Government, not for the council. Mr Moore as a Conservative MP insisted that the three Keighley wards must stay in local restrictions and I believe he communicated this directly to the Secretary of State for Health. In the last week he has changed his view and is now asking for the three Keighley wards to be taken out.

“Given the widespread confusion about what local restrictions are and how they differ ward by ward, seemingly without regard to ward infection rates, it is still my view that the Government needs to remove the local restrictions from the whole district and instead focus on the stronger, clearer Rule of 6 that just started this week.

"I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to keep apart from each other (two metres), to wash hands regularly and to wear face coverings indoors. We must all limit social contact wherever we are in the district. The rising infection rates show just how serious the situation is.

"The virus is out there and accelerating its transmission between people all across the district. Our hospitals are seeing an increase in admissions. Please follow the national guidelines and the new Rule of 6.

“If you are someone who has been shielding, wherever you are in the district, I would encourage you to be very careful in how you go about your daily life and stay apart from people if at all possible. This group of people are the most likely to become seriously ill if they catch the virus.”