The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer has asked why Boris Johnson was “slow to act” as during December infections surged. Downing Street was accused of mix messaging by allowing bubbles, acting to slowly and dismissing scientist’s warnings, to then cancel them at the eleventh hour.
Sir Keir said during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) that since 16 December, nearly 17,000 people have died of the virus, as Johnson said that is “no need for endless lockdown” and resisted urgent calls to stop Christmas bubbles.
Then on the 19 December Johnson made a U-turn under pressure, and cancelled Christmas for millions and limited it to just Christmas Day throughout England.
The Labour leader told MPs in the the House of Commons, that the current lockdown in England is not “strong enough.”
He said, “Every time there’s a big decision to take, the prime minister gets there late.
“The next big decision is obvious, the current restrictions are not strong enough to control the virus.
“Stronger restrictions are needed.
“There’s no point members opposite shaking their heads, in a week or two the prime minister is likely to be asking members to vote for this.”
Sir Keir quizzed Johnson as to why he was to “slow to act” as there are now over a million more cases, with 60,000 being admitted to hospital and 17,000 Covid related deaths.
Ski Keir added, “The last PMQs was on December 16. The Prime Minister told us then that we were seeing, in his words, a significant reduction in the virus.
“He told us then that there was no need for endless lockdowns and no need to change the rules about Christmas mixing.
“Since then, since that last PMQs, 17,000 people have died of Covid, 60,000 people have been admitted to hospital and there has been over a million new cases.
“How did the Prime Minister get it so wrong and why was he so slow to act?
The Prime Minister responded with, “Of course, what [Starmer] fails to point out is that on December 18, two days later, the government was informed of the spread of the new variant and the fact that it spreads roughly 50-70% faster than the old variant, and that is why it is indeed correct to say that the situation today is very troubling indeed.
“This is the toughest of times, but we can see the way forward.”