Keir Starmer berates Boris Johnson over coronavirus comparisons

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Sir Keir Starmer has criticised Boris Johnson over his refusal to compare the UK’s coronavirus death toll with that of other countries.

At least 29,427 people have died with Covid-19 in Britain, the highest number in Europe and the second highest in the world.

Facing the Prime Minister at the despatch box for the first time since his election as Labour leader, Sir Keir asked: “How on Earth did it come to this?”

Mr Johnson admitted that the statistics were “appalling” and but claimed that there was not enough data to make international comparisons.

He added: “I believe that of course there will be a time to look at what decisions we took and whether we could have taken different decisions.”

Academics have previously warned that it is impossible to know exact comparable death tolls at this stage because governments and health authorities across Europe take different approaches to recording deaths and some Covid-19 deaths are potentially not recorded at all.

But the leader of the opposition said the Mr Johnson’s claim “doesn’t hold water” given the government had been presenting graphs which set the UK’s progress against other countries throughout its daily press briefings.

Mr Starmer stated: “I’m afraid that many people are concluding that the answer to my question is that the UK was slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on tracing and slow on the supply of protective equipment.”

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