Keir Starmer ‘needs to make up his mind’ on schools, says PM

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer have come to blows over reopening UK schools amid coronavirus lockdown.

The Labour leader urged the Prime Minister to back proposals for a national task force to look at the return of pupils to school, saying the current arrangements “lie in tatters”.

The row comes after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that not all primary students will be able to return to the classroom before summer.

Sir Keir accused Mr Johnson of failing to provide “a robust national plan, consensus among all key stakeholders and strong leadership from the top”.

Mr Johnson responded: “Last week he was telling the House that it was not yet safe for kids to go back to school, this week he’s saying that not enough kids are going back to school. I really think he needs to make up his mind.”

It was hoped that primary children would go back to school for a month back before the long summer break, but logistics surrounding social distancing measures mean this will not be possible in some schools.

The government is now working to bring back as many pupils as possible in September.

Sir Keir added: “It’s time [the PM] took responsibility for his own failings. This mess was completely avoidable. The consequences are stark.”

Mr Johnson hit back: “He still can’t work out whether he’s saying schools are not safe enough or whether they should be going back more quickly. He can’t have it both ways.”

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