- Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby’s long-term partner is Lesley Summerland, 64
- She has now moved into his city centre residence inside the locked-down zone
- Sir Peter had to issue an apology after being spotted breaching lockdown rules by carrying out maintenance work at Summerland's home in April and May
This is the ex-teacher girlfriend of Leicester’s mayor who has now moved in with him for the city’s second lockdown, days after he made a grovelling apology for breaking the rules to stay with her.
Sir Peter Soulsby’s long-term partner Lesley Summerland, 64 left her home on the outskirts of Leicester last night, moving to his city centre residence inside the new restrictive cordon.
She told neighbours the couple decided on the move to avoid any criticism about their living arrangements during Leicester’s fresh lockdown, which came into force this week following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
Sir Peter was accused of being a hypocrite and forced to issue a grovelling apology after being photographed staying with Ms Summerland and carrying out maintenance work at her home during the height of the pandemic in April and May.
A neighbour told MailOnline: ‘She told us that they had decided to sit out this second lockdown at Sir Peter’s place because he didn’t want to get into any more trouble by staying at her home during this lockdown.
‘He got enough flak the first time around and had to deal with a lot of negative publicity because a lot of people were angry that he was being hypocritical. He was telling us all to stay at home but wasn’t doing that himself.'
Leicester’s new restrictions came into effect on Tuesday morning with Ms Summerland leaving her residence at 7pm later that day with several bags. Prior to this, she had been staying at her property in Groby with Sir Peter.
Another neighbour said: ‘She had several bags with her and said she and Sir Peter wouldn’t be back until this lockdown has been lifted. It’s a sensible thing to do because there was a lot of anger at what happened after he was caught out during the first lockdown.’
Neighbours filmed the Labour Mayor at Ms Summerland's home on several occasions throughout April and May as he arrived 'carrying overnight bags and shirts.'
Ms Summerland, a former teacher who has two grown up children from a previous marriage, has been with Sir Peter for five years.
She is well known for her union work amongst teachers and once campaigned for religious schools to be abolished.
She has been living at her home in Groby for 25 years.
Another neighbour said: ‘She can be quite outspoken and was very angry when the story of Sir Peter staying with her came out. She felt that some neighbours were out to get her because they don’t agree with her strong political views.’
In the clips that were published Sir Peter could be seen helping his partner with maintenance on her home and climbing a ladder to fit a window.
Throughout May, the Labour politician used his social media account to urge residents to 'stay safe at home'.
Police spoke to the Mayor after the visits came to light and gave him advice about the restrictions in place.
Speaking to BBC Radio Leicester last month, he apologised for the error of judgement and admitted 'it was setting a very bad example'.
But he pointed to other 'high-profile people' who had flouted the lockdown.
Sir Peter told the BBC: 'I don't think anybody would claim that there was anything in my behaviour that ran any risk whatsoever of spreading the virus.
'It can be certainly interpreted as against the spirit of the lockdown, if not against the regulations.'
He said he was 'ready to apologise' unlike 'some of the high-profile people who are far more influential in setting policy about this than I am'.
Leicester City Council have been contacted for comment.