THE Prime Minister says sending children to school is safe despite mounting pressure for pupils to get their lessons at home as coronavirus infections soar.

Boris Johnson was asked on the BBC Andrew Marr show about Brighton and Hove City Council's advice to schools that they should close their doors tomorrow.

It is up to school headteachers to decide, and it is now understood that the vast majority of primary schools here in the city will keep pupils out of the classroom and switch to home learning instead.

The Prime Minister did not respond to questions about whether the government would take legal action against Brighton and Hove City Council.

The Argus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded to Brighton and Hove City Council's advice for primary schools to closePrime Minister Boris Johnson responded to Brighton and Hove City Council's advice for primary schools to close

When asked what advice he would give to the Green Party led city council he said: "My message is that they should be guided by public health advice, which is that at the moment, schools are safe in those areas where we are not being driven by the new variant."

That is after a 500 per cent rise in infections here in Brighton and Hove from coronavirus in the past few weeks.

Read more on this story: Council leader tells schools to close as coronavirus infection rates soar

Andrew Marr quizzed the Prime Minister on whether Brighton and Hove City Council has taken the wrong approach.

The Government announced a U-turn on Friday to keep all primary schools in London closed. The situation is also the same in Essex, Kent and for schools in the Hastings and Rother areas of East Sussex.

But Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said school headteachers do not believe it is safe to open for the new term tomorrow.

The Argus: Brighton and Hove council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty has advised schools to closeBrighton and Hove council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty has advised schools to close

Mr Marr asked Boris if parents should send their children to school tomorrow.

The Prime Minister said: "Absolutely yes they should send them to school in areas that are open.

"What we are doing now is we are grapping with a new variant of the virus which is surging particularly in London and the South East. 

"That is why we have taken exceptional measures for some parts to close primary schools and keep them closed temporarily. It is not something anybody wants to do.

"We have had to fight hard to keep schools open. Schools are safe. It is very, very important to stress that."

The Prime Minister said the risks to staff and children was low, and said being in school was best for children.

Read more on this story: Brighton and Hove Labour group backs council advice over fears of 'imminent catastrophe'

Mr Marr pointed to science experts telling the government on December 22 that primary schools ought to be closed to stop the spread of the new variant.

Mr Johnson said there are "different views" on public health, and said children benefit both socially and in terms of mental health from being at school.

He said schools had remained open in parts of the North West such as Liverpool and Manchester earlier this year, where the rate of Covid-19 infections was brought down.

Mr Johnson said keeping children out of school causes them long term harm and has a social cost.

Mr Marr asked if he condemned the decision of Cllr Mac Cafferty in Brighton to write to schools to advise them to close.

The Prime Minister said: "I understand people's frustrations and anxieties. But there is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe and education is a priority."

The Argus: Boris Johnson appeared on The Andrew Marr ShowBoris Johnson appeared on The Andrew Marr Show

Mr Marr asked if local authorities like Brighton have essentially "given up" on the government and waiting for effective leadership, and "taken matters into their own hands".

Mr Johnson said: "I don't think that is the case, we are going to work with local authorities, and our advice remains the same. 

"For public health reasons, we think in the large majority of the country it is sensible to keep schools open."