THE CONSERVATIVES are facing pressure to act after an MP said Muslims and BAME people were not taking the threat of coronavirus seriously enough.

Craig Whittaker, Tory MP for Calder Valley, made the remarks during a radio interview today.

The comments came after the government announced localised restrictions in the north of England over fears of a second wave of coronavirus.

Speaking on LBC, Mr Whittaker said: "What I have seen in my constituency is we have areas in our community and sections of our community that are not taking the pandemic seriously."

Asked if he was referring to the Muslim community, the MP said: "Of course."

"If you look at the areas where we've seen rises and cases, the vast majority - not by any stretch of the imagination all areas - but it is the BAME communities that are not taking this seriously enough."

"I've been challenging our local leaders for... three weeks, asking what we are doing to target these areas to let people know that this is a very serious problem.

"Until people take it seriously, we're not going to get rid of this pandemic.

"We have areas of high multiple occupancy who are in the same boat... and it doesn't specifically have to be in the Asian community, but that is the largest proportion.

"Look at the areas. You've got Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees. Bradford, in particular, and Kirklees have two of the largest populations in West Yorkshire."

When asked ig he was talking about immigrant communities in those areas, Mr Whittaker said: "Yeah, well, immigrant and Asian population".

The Prime Minister was asked about the comments earlier today when he held a press conference to announce the delay to easing restrictions in certain areas of Northern England.

However he failed to criticise the MP, and said: "It's up to all of us in in government to make sure that the message is being heard loud and clear by everybody across the country and to make sure that everybody is complying with the guidance and a huge amount of effort is now going into that."

He added: "I want to thank all the community leaders, thank everybody the imams who worked hard with us to to get messages across, all faith leaders and other communities, getting that message across throughout society.

"But ultimately it's up to everybody, it's up to the whole country to get this right and to do it together."

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth demanded the Tory party take action against the MP, and said his comments were "disgraceful".

He told Times Radio: “To be frank, the Tory Party should do something about it because it is quite disgraceful, what he was saying.”