A BOROUGH’S deputy mayor is sticking to his claims that the dangers of coronavirus are being exaggerated despite criticism by another senior councillor.

Ribble Valley Conservative Cllr James Rogerson said national media coverage had left people ‘absolutely petrified’.

He said on social media: “Ordinary people I speak to think the dangers are being over-exaggerated and they just want to get on with their lives. An open debate needs to be brought forward.”

Cllr Allan Knox, leader of the boroughs Liberal Democrats, said: “When people look for advice on a pandemic, I would recommend they take advice from experts who have appropriate qualifications in virology, epidemiology or public health.”

A Ribble Valley Council statement said: “Although individual councillors have a democratic right to voice their views on a whole range of issues, including the pandemic lockdown, we would like to make it clear that the council follows the government’s public health guidance on coronavirus.”

Alston and Hothersall ward’s Cllr Rogerson said on YouTube: “People have died and it is absolutely terrible that they have, but it is not as deadly as being made out. A big section of society are going to be too frightened to socialise with each other.

“That fear will be killing people, I have read recently two million people have missed cancer appointments.

“We’re being brainwashed to accept a lot more control over our lives. People don’t realise they will have a lot of freedoms taken away from them.

“There’s going to be a massive bill to pay for all this and the only way is through taxation and that will fall mainly on the young 30 year olds with young families and another 30 or 40 years to work.”

Cllr Rogerson told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I stand by my comments.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think people are being frightened to death.

“I am not saying anything against the council which is following the government’s guidelines. I am criticising national media coverage.”

A Government spokesman told the Telegraph: “Our response has ensured that the NHS has capacity for everyone who needs it, as well as providing unprecedented support for millions of workers, businesses and self-employed people.”