Javid slams Khan over decision to axe London's NYE firework display

Sajid Javid slams London mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to cancel capital’s New Year’s Eve firework display over Covid fears

  • Health Sec said there was ‘no reason’ annual pyrotechnics could not return
  • Mr Khan revealed this week that the 2021 display had been called off 
  • Blamed ‘uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic’ for second cancellation

Sajid Javid slammed London mayor Sadiq Khan today over his decision to cancel the capital’s annual new year firework display over Covid fears.

The Tory Health Secretary said there was ‘no reason’ the annual New Year’s Eve pyrotechnic display above the Thames could not return this year, having also been axed in 2020.

Labour mayor Mr Khan revealed this week that the 2021 display, which would have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to the riverside, had been called off, blaming Covid ‘uncertainty’.

But asked about the decision today on LBC, Mr Javid said: ‘Obviously that’s a decision for the Mayor, but from my point of view, I can’t understand why that can’t happen. 

‘I mean, I think there’s a perfectly safe way that that can take place, so I really don’t understand that decision, but as I say, that’s not a decision for the government. It’s the Mayor’s firework display, so I hope he can reconsider it.’

The Tory Health Secretary said there was ‘no reason’ the annual New Year’s Eve pyrotechnic display above the Thames could not return this year, having also been axed in 2020.

Labour mayor Mr Khan revealed this week that the 2021 display, which would have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to the riverside, had been called off, blaming Covid ‘uncertainty’.

But asked about the decision today on LBC, Mr Javid said: ‘Obviously that’s a decision for the Mayor, but from my point of view, I can’t understand why that can’t happen.’

The annual event is usually attended by up to 100,000 people and broadcast across the world.

City Hall said it has been cancelled this year due to ‘uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic’.

However, a spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised that the capital’s new year celebrations will still be ‘spectacular’.

‘This year, as always, London will be welcoming the new year in a spectacular way,’ he said.

‘Due to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, our world-famous New Year’s Eve display will not be held on the banks of the Thames this year.’

Last year the display was moved to a different area of London, and involved the innovative use of drones.

However, the BBC received 500 complaints after the drones formed into a clenched fist – a symbol used by the Black Lives Matter movement.

This year, City Hall is staying tight-lipped on how London will be ringing in 2022.

‘Last year’s successful show took place in a slightly different way due to the pandemic, and this year a number of exciting new options are being considered as part of our New Year’s Eve celebrations in London’, the spokesman said.

‘Further details of this year’s celebration will be announced in due course.’

He would neither confirm nor deny whether the event will involve fireworks in some way.

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