A LABOUR leader breached coronavirus lockdown rules by staying with his lover overnight possibly up to four times a week.
Sir Peter Soulsby – the Mayor of Leicester and a former Labour MP – angered locals with visits to Lesley Summerland, 64.
The trips – which often saw him arrive in his blue Vauxhall saloon car with an overnight bag and clean shirt on a hanger – came at the same time as he was urging the public to respect the lockdown.
Angry neighbours of ex-schoolteacher Lesley claim they saw him visit regularly in April, before they began filming him in mid-May.
At the time – under the government-announced lockdown – people were barred from travelling to any homes but their own and lovers were banned from overnight stays.
But pictures and footage show Sir Peter, 71, visiting on several different evenings during May, often carrying an overnight bag or shirts.
Sometimes he would park his blue Vauxhall saloon car on her driveway for the night.
In other clips, Sir Peter can be seen helping his partner with odd jobs. In a video shot on May 30, veteran politician Sir Peter was seen scaling a ladder outside Lesley’s home and helping a man – thought to be her son – install a new upstairs window.
The Labour stalwart – in chinos, a lilac shirt and a cap – was seen chatting to Lesley at the end of the clip through the window.
His visits came after he urged people to do their duty at the end of March, days before lockdown was enforced on March 23.
In a speech to Leicester City Council, Sir Peter said: “Our duty is now clear – to protect loved ones, neighbours, friends, key workers and our fellow citizens.”
And throughout May, he used his Leicester City Mayor Twitter account to dole out safety advice and reinforce the government’s “stay home” message.
On May 1, accompanied by pictures of empty roads, parks and streets he wrote: “Thank you Leicester. Stay safe at home.”
Ten days later he criticised Number 10, saying: “Unclear message from Government on Covid 19. Need clarity and answers. If in doubt # stay home and stay safe.”
And on May 20, he wrote: “Our 12 key parks and 156 smaller parks & open spaces are open to enjoy but please remember to keep to social distancing rules if out.”
Our revelations about Sir Peter come weeks after Labour MP Rosie Duffield apologised and stood down as a whip after being caught meeting her lover James Routh during lockdown.
Controversy has also raged over Boris Johnson aide Dominic Cummings’ journey from London to Durham with his family during lockdown.
One furious local resident said: “It was all too blatant and we felt that something had to be done.
“We have all been struggling through this time, not seeing our loved ones and families, and here’s the Mayor and his girlfriend doing just as they please.
“He is a hypocrite and has been telling people to respect the lockdown and social distancing and not practising what he preaches.
“He and Lesley have been together for a few years but they have separate addresses and he certainly didn’t move in.
“He just came and went as he pleased, staying three or four times a week, and he did this all through lockdown. He was blatantly breaking the rules.”
Sir Peter, a former Labour MP who was knighted by Tony Blair in 1999 for his services to local government, lives in a large semi-detached house near Leicester city centre.
It is seven miles from his partner’s home in a cul-de-sac in Groby, a sprawling village on the edge of Leicester.
A neighbour of Sir Peter said he was a “busy man” who had been “coming and going” during lockdown.
The city mayor is considered a minor celebrity in Leicester – having started serving on the Council in 1974.
He was an MP for six years before becoming Leicester’s first elected mayor in 2011 – and he is now in his third term.
The post means he is in executive control of the Council, with a reported salary of £67,000.
One of Ms Summerland’s neighbours added: “Lesley makes no secret of her relationship with the Mayor. She positively boasts about it. His visits were happening all through May. It has been like the rules just don’t apply to her.”
Sir Peter, Ms Summerland and Leicester city council did not answer requests for comments.
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