Former rave-loving health minister urges end to illegal dance events

A one-time rave-loving health minister has urged an end to the holding of illegal dance events, warning organisers they were creating “a massive public health disaster”.

Tory frontbencher Lord Bethell, who use to manage the Ministry Of Sound nightclub, made the plea after the Government moved to tighten coronavirus restrictions in the face of a rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases.

The Conservative peer was responding to concerns raised in Parliament over the holding of illicit raves in “blatant contravention” of rules aimed at preventing the spread of infection.

From Monday, the legal limit on social gatherings in England will be reduced from 30 people to six, although some exemptions will apply, such as weddings and funerals.

The new rules come after the number of daily positive Covid-19 cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000 – figures not seen since May.

Ministers hope the change to the law will make it easier for the police to identify and break up illegal gatherings.

Failure to comply could result in a £100 fine, which will double on each repeat offence up to £3,200.

Speaking during an urgent question at Westminster, non-affiliated peer Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, a former chief superintendent, said: “Many law-abiding people are offended by the organisation of raves in blatant contravention of numbers and social distancing rules.

“What assessment has the Government made of the use of intelligence by the police in order to stop people from travelling long distances to attend such illegal gatherings?”

Responding, Lord Bethell said: “I used to organise raves, I used to love raves, but I implore all those who organise raves to stop because you are creating a massive public health disaster.

“Fines have been put in place, we will come after you, but please look into your conscience – stop the raves, protect lives.”

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