Mayor issues statement over lockdown bike ride

A still from the video posted on Twitter by Michael Skeggs shows Sabri Ozaydin wearing the mayoral chains of office while out on a bike ride with other councillors in Enfield
A still from the video posted on Twitter by Michael Skeggs shows Enfield mayor Sabri Ozaydin wearing the chains of office while out on a bike ride with other councillors in Enfield

Mayor denies he breached lockdown during weekend bike ride, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The mayor of Enfield has said a bike ride that led to him being accused of breaking lockdown rules was “not a social occasion”.

Sabri Ozaydin, who said he was speaking in a personal capacity, told a council meeting this week that the journey was undertaken “to speak to a local business” and had been “misinterpreted” by councillors and residents.

Controversy broke out over a post from the mayor’s Twitter account on Sunday that said: “Mayor of Enfield Cllr Sabri Ozaydin, Cllr Ahmet Hasan, Cllr Mustafa Cetinkaya are out cycling getting their daily exercise.”

Government lockdown rules state that exercise is currently only allowed with one person from another household.

The mayor was also filmed outside a shop with other cyclists and accused of breaking lockdown rules by a passer-by. Cllr Ozaydin told the member of the public they were “just cycling” and when pressed further said that they were “testing the cycle lanes”.

Speaking at the full council meeting on Tuesday, Cllr Ozaydin said: “I would like to make a statement relating to an incident a few days ago. To be clear, I am making this statement in my personal capacity, not in the role of mayor of Enfield.

“Myself and two other councillors travelled on Enfield cycle lanes to speak to a local business who had raised a case with us many times. We used a cycle lane to promote safe and sustainable travel. This form of travel is much better than being in an enclosed space in the mayoral car.

“The mayor’s role is to remain active in the borough, engage with residents, stakeholders, businesses, alongside other councillors. I obtained permission from the mayor’s office, and we were accompanied by a member of staff.

“Indeed, it was the member of staff who put the tweet out. It was not a social occasion, and I regret that some councillors and residents have misinterpreted in this way.”