PMQs: Keir Starmer offers to ‘swap places’ with Boris Johnson

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sir Keir Starmer sparked cheers and jeers during PMQs today as he offered to switch places with Boris Johnson during a heated debate over the reopening of schools.

The Prime Minister had urged the Labour leader to help reopen more schools across England in response to calls for the government to do more to tackle child poverty.

Mr Johnson criticised Labour-run local authorities for not opening their doors to reception, year one and year six pupils and suggested Sir Keir should press them to do so.

He challenged his despatch box rival, saying: “How can he talk about tackling the effect of coronavirus on the most disadvantaged?

“It’s the most disadvantaged kids who need to go back to school and it is those groups which, unfortunately, at the moment that are not going back to school.

“Let’s hear from him, one more time, will he say schools are safe to go back to?”

Sir Keir replied: “This is turning into Opposition questions. If the Prime Minister wants to swap places, I’m very happy to do it, to do it now.”

The Opposition leader had previously welcomed the government’s U-turn on free school meals but said it was “just one step” to reducing child poverty.

He told MPs: “The Prime Minister says poverty has not increased. I just read a direct quote from a government report from a government commission produced last week which says it has gone up by 600,000.”

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