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Boris Johnson accused of cover up over death toll

by LLB Politics Reporter
13th May 20 2:14 pm

Boris Johnson has been accused of a coronavirus cover-up  by Sir Keir Starmer in the House of Commons as Downing Street have stopped publishing international death toll comparison.

Si Keir claimed during PMQs on Wednesday that the slides comparison graph which has been a fixture at the daily briefings was not shown on Tuesday.

The Labour leader claims that the data is now being withheld because the UK is the worst affected area in the whole of Europe.

The Prime Minister hit back at Starmer saying it was “premature” to make these comparisons as the virus is a “once in a century epidemic.”

Sir Keir, who is a former prosecuting Barrister, labelled the defence as “baffling” and pointed out that the government have repeatedly been showing the graphs which compares the UK with Italy, Spain and the US.

Sir Keir told MPs, “Yesterday the overall figures given by the government at the press conference for those who have died from Covid-19 was 32,692, each one a tragedy.

“For many weeks the government has compared the UK number against other countries.

“Last week I showed the Prime Minister his own slide, showing that the UK now has the highest death total in Europe and second highest in the world.

“A version of this slide has been shown at the Number 10 press conference every day since the 30 March. That is seven weeks.

“Yesterday the government stopped publishing the international comparisons and the slide has gone. Why?”

Johnson responded with, “As he knows very well, the UK has been going through an unprecedented, once in a century epidemic and he seeks to make comparisons with other countries which I am advised are premature because the correct and final way of making these comparisons will be when we have all the excess death totals for all the relevant countries.

“We do not yet have that data. I am not going to try to pretend to the House that the figures when they are finally confirmed are anything other than stark and deeply, deeply horrifying.

“This has been an appalling epidemic. What I can tell the House is we are getting those numbers down: The numbers of deaths are coming down, the numbers of hospital admissions are coming down.”

Sir Keir hit back saying, “I am baffled. It is not me seeking to draw the comparisons: These are the government slides that have been used for seven weeks to reassure the public.

“The problem with the Prime Minister’s answer is it is pretty obvious that for seven weeks when we weren’t the highest number in Europe they were used for comparison purposes, as soon as we hit that unenviable place they have been dropped.”

He added, “Dropping the comparisons means dropping the learning and that is the real risk.”

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