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Councillors apologise for breaking Leicester lockdown

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image copyrightRuma Ali
image captionRuma Ali said her breach of the rules came from her "misunderstanding" them due to them changing
Two Leicester city councillors are facing calls to resign after admitting breaking local lockdown rules.
Ruma Ali, who represents the Humberstone and Hamilton ward, was seen having a barbecue in her garden on 2 August.
Fellow Labour councillor Rashmi Joshi, of the North Evington ward, attended a religious event.
The city had gone back into lockdown on 29 June to combat a spike in coronavirus cases.
Ms Ali said she "did not think" she was breaking the rules as it was only family members present, and apologised for her "misunderstanding".
Fellow Labour councillor Mr Joshi also apologised after the event he was helping at "got out of hand".
After lockdown was eased across most of England, Leicester and some surrounding areas became the subject of the first local lockdown in the UK.
Some restrictions were eased last month, and pubs and restaurants in the city were allowed to reopen on 3 August, but limits on house visits remained in place.
The government said on Friday restrictions on household gatherings in the city would remain, with the measures to be reviewed again next week.
image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe local lockdown was announced on 29 June
Ms Ali said the attendees at the barbecue were "my immediate family who all live within close proximity to me".
"I did not think I was breaking any lockdown rules, because I am a single parent and my family are my bubble," she said.
"This was a misunderstanding due to the lockdown rules continuously changing. It has been very complicated and confusing what you can and can't do.
"I would like to offer my sincere apologies and I will be more careful in future."
image captionRashmi Joshi said he was "very sorry" the religious event "got out of hand"
Mr Joshi admitted he attended an event to mark Janmashtami - a Hindu event that marks the birthday of Krishna - at the Shivalaya temple on Belgrave Road.
While religious events have been allowed to take place, government guidance says attendees should adhere to social distancing rules.
He said it started out as "a happy occasion", but when people began to ignore social distancing advice the event was shut down.
"We tried to keep the people away from each and everybody but it just happened very quickly and it kind of got out of hand," he said.
"It is very unfortunate that a very happy occasion has turned out into a massive controversy, and for that, sincere apologies to everybody."
Mr Joshi has referred himself to the city council's standards officer and said he would "abide by any decisions".

'Truly selfish'

Opposition politicians have called on the councillors to resign.
Rhys Brown, deputy chairman of Leicester Conservatives, said: "I share the anger of the numerous people I have spoken to that wanted to celebrate Eid over the weekend but acted in good faith and stayed away from friends and family."
Baroness Sandip Verma, also a Conservative, said: "They have done wrong, and the decent thing to do is to follow their colleague's example in Luton - the mayor of Luton did wrong [and] stepped down."
Nigel Porter, leader of the city council's Liberal Democrats, said Ms Ali should "fall on her sword".
"She should be leading by example and her behaviour is despicable and truly selfish," he said.
image captionCouncillor Adam Clarke said there would be an internal process to discuss the actions
Councillor Adam Clarke, deputy city mayor, said conversations needed to be had with Ms Ali and Mr Joshi.
"We have an internal process that we will need to go through and have those discussions to get to the bottom of what has actually happened," he said.
"Apologies have been made and we'll take those discussions from there."
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