PMQs: Keir Starmer criticises ‘slow’ coronavirus response

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sir Keir Starmer has accused the government of a “slow” implementation of coronavirus measures as he stepped up for his first PMQs as Labour leader today.

He said “something is going wrong" as he quizzed de facto deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab.

According to the opposition leader, the government had missed opportunities employ British companies to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical staff.

“There is a pattern emerging here. We were slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on protective equipment and now slow to take up these offers from British firms,” he said.

Mr Raab rejected the claim and said “we have been guided by the scientific advice, the chief scientific adviser, the chief medical officer at every step along the way.

“If [Sir Keir] thinks he knows better than they do with hindsight, then that’s his decision.”

The Cabinet minister added that it was “not quite right” to assume that British companies supplying equipment abroad were automatically acceptable to UK standards.

The despatch box debate also scrutinised the government’s promise to carry out 100,000 Covid-19 tests per day by the end of April.

Mr Starmer pointed out that as of yesterday daily testing stood at less that 20,000, even when the government claims there is capacity to carry out 40,000 tests a day.

Mr Raab said the government was expecting an “exponential increase” in testing in the final week of the month.

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