England cricket great Ian Botham warned about the devastating impact of coronavirus on sport and charities during his maiden speech in the House of Lords on Tuesday.

Botham, who sits as a non-party-political crossbench peer, took up his seat in the unelected upper house of parliament last month.

“It’s no secret that I’m a passionate and strong-willed man who will fight for the causes close to my heart — be it sport, charity, countryside and the world we are now living,” said Botham.

The 64-year-old former England captain, one of the great all-rounders, said that he had seen the negative impact of COVID-19 in his position as chairman of northeast county side Durham.

“We need to get these grounds open again to spectators in a controlled and safe manner,” said Botham.

A noted fundraiser, Botham said the coronavirus was also affecting charities in their work.

“The impact of this will not only be felt now but also threatens to slow progress achieved in research,” he said.



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