Sir Keir Starmer took off his gloves today in his fight against Boris Johnson when he beaten the Prime Minister over the government's test and traceability program, decision to reopen schools, and transparency.
Sir Keir attempted to use PMQs that midday to hit the PM over important portions of the government's coronavirus response.
But an angry Mr. Johnson struck back and accused the Labor leader of delivering "endless attacks on public trust".
Labor had previously taken a largely constructive approach to the crisis, with the shadow cabinet apparently unwilling to publicly blow up the government.
But today there was a dramatic change in approach when Sir Keir told Mr. Johnson, "The Prime Minister is confusing control over attacks."
The clashes at PMQs came when the government was under increasing pressure due to the introduction of the NHS test and trace program.
The system has reportedly failed to track the contacts of approximately 60 percent of those who tested positive for the disease.
Sir Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson repeatedly clashed at PMQs at noon over the government's coronavirus response
Sir Keir accused the Prime Minister of breaking promises to launch the NHS testing and tracing program
Boris Johnson unveiled plan for proxy voting to shield MEPs when he heard of farcical MILE-LONG & # 39; socially distant Konga & # 39; is attacked by MPs
MPs who fail to make it to Westminster because of their age or illness are screened may vote through a proxy, Boris Johnson said today.
The prime minister made the announcement when his government was widely ridiculed by a mile-long "socially distant Konga" by politicians who wriggled around Parliament yesterday.
MEPs cast out temporary electronic voting measures that were introduced during the pandemic despite being accused of disenfranchising those who needed to be shielded at home due to their age or specific health problems.
As a result, hundreds of MPs sometimes had to queue for more than an hour in a socially distant queue that meandered through halls, corridors, and open spaces in the Westminster estate before voting in the Commons Chamber.
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer today used a lively Prime Minister's questions to describe the scenes as "shameful" and urged the Prime Minister to end the "completely unnecessary and unacceptable" process and instead allow the remote voting to resume.
He told Commons: "If another employer behaved like this, it would be a clear and obvious case of indirect discrimination under the Equalities Act."
Mr. Johnson replied, "I think (Sir Keir) needs to think about what's really going on across the country, where ordinary people get used to queuing for a long time to do their shopping, or whatever.
“I do not think it is unreasonable to ask parliamentarians to come back here and do their work for the people of this country.
"I know that it is difficult, and I apologize to colleagues for the inconvenience and I apologize to anyone who has particular difficulties because they are shielded or older. The change we are making today means that they are in should be able to vote through a proxy. "
Sir Keir had attacked Mr. Johnson overnight for "winging" it due to the relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown.
The Labor chief said the prime minister would be personally responsible if the number of coronavirus deaths increased again.
He also said that the way Mr. Johnson relaxed the rules suggests that there is "an exit but no strategy".
He intensified his criticism of the PMQ prime minister when he questioned Mr. Johnson about Test and Trace.
"Two weeks ago today, the Prime Minister promised in the mailbox that we will have a test, track and trace operation that will be successful worldwide, and yes, it will take place until June 1st," he said.
& # 39; But it is not. A critical element, the ability of local authorities to respond to local leaders, is lacking.
“As a council president told us, we are still weeks away from putting this into operation. We just weren't warned enough.
& # 39; The Prime Minister murmurs, it's not true. Dido Harding, chairman of the Prime Minister's Track & Trace system, said this item will not be ready until the end of June.
“The prime minister must have been informed of this problem before making this promise two weeks ago. Why did he make that promise? & # 39;
An angry Mr. Johnson struck back and said, “I'm afraid he's talking about the efforts of tens of thousands of people who have put in place a test, track and trace system in this country from the start.
“We now have 40,000 people who deal with it. Every person, thousands of people are tested, as he knows every day.
"Anyone who tests positive in this country, the Track & Trace system, will be contacted, then thousands of their contacts will be contacted themselves … and I can tell the house which one at the moment thanks to our Test, Track & Trace system it was As I said earlier, on June 1st, thousands of people are following the law and isolating themselves because of the efforts we are following to stop the spread of the disease.
Sir Keir accused Mr Johnson of not using the statistics properly after British statistics watchdog David Norgrove yesterday accused Minister of Health Matt Hancock of a devastating reprimand for his "misleading" test numbers.
"The problem with the Prime Minister's use of statistics is that the statistics agency has had concerns more than once," he said, before adding that Mr. Johnson's approach "harms public confidence in the government."
Mr. Johnson replied, "I really don't see the purpose of his endless attacks on public trust when we try, and I think what the public wants to hear from politicians of all parties is our clear messages about how to defeat this virus.
"Test and Trace is an important tool in our armory. Contrary to what he said, we ran up to 100,000 tests a day by the end of May and up to 200,000 tests by the beginning of this month."
Sir Keir snapped back: “The Prime Minister is confusing the test for attacks. I openly supported the government and criticized it.
"But boy, he's been making it difficult to support this government in the past two weeks."
Sir Keir and Mr. Johnson also argued over the decision to reopen primary schools.
Sir Keir replied to Mr Johnson's request for "more cooperation" from Labor and wrote to the Prime Minister two weeks ago to offer help in building consensus on the return of children to school, but received no response.
Sir Keir said: & # 39; This is a critical week in our response to Covid-19. While locking and staying at home was relatively easy news, the relaxation restrictions are very difficult decisions to make.
"So this is the week of all weeks when public confidence in the government had to be the highest."
He noted that the director of the Reuters Institute said they had never seen such a loss of confidence in 10 years, and added, "How worried is the Prime Minister about this loss of confidence?"
Surveys have shown confidence in Mr. Johnson to have collapsed after spitting on Mr. Cummings (pictured downing Street yesterday).
Mr. Johnson contested the fact that he had not answered and said he had bothered to call Sir Keir.
Labor later said that the call Mr Johnson mentioned was not a face-to-face meeting, but a briefing with other opposition leaders.
In the meantime, Sir Keir accused the Prime Minister of lack of transparency on how easing decisions were made and how this was linked to the government's coronavirus warning system.
A visibly frustrated Mr. Johnson hit the shipping box when he replied, "He knows the alert level allows it, and he didn't raise this issue with me when we were talking on the phone and he knows the reason why we are . " We were able to make the progress we made – the five tests were met.
"So yes, the alert level remains at four, but as Sage will confirm, we have managed to protect the NHS, lower the death rate, lower the infection rate, the PSA crisis, difficulties in nursing homes, the issue of R, they were addressed.
"The question for him is whether he actually supports the progress we are making because at the weekend he supported it and now he is turning around, now he seems to be against the steps this country is taking."
Mr. Johnson was also grilled by MPs after the government released an official report yesterday, which showed that black, Asian, and ethnic minority (bame) Britons died of coronavirus more often than their white counterparts.
Labor MP Andy Slaughter asked the Prime Minister what measures are being taken to address the situation and demonstrate that "black lives are important".
Mr. Johnson said: "He is wrong in saying that this government was somehow forced to publish a review – this government commissioned the review because we take it incredibly seriously, it is our review.
"Yes, I find it unbearable that Covid falls into different groups and communities in our country in such a discriminatory manner, and we will therefore ensure that our Minister for Gender Equality takes up this report and sees what practical steps we need to take to take it To protect minorities. & # 39;
The government launched the NHS test and trace system last week, but it has been followed by allegations of early problems.
A leaked report indicated that virus sufferers had provided information on 4,634 infected people, of whom only 1,749 had been notified by SMS or email.
The government has insisted that the numbers are out of date and do not paint an accurate picture.
Ministers are also under pressure from the test regime, with the government not disclosing how many people are actually tested, but focusing on the number of tests performed.
Minister of Health Edward Argar suggested today that it is not "important" for the government to know how many people have been tested.
He told Sky News: “We always said that we talked about the number of tests that were carried out.
"There is a very good reason for this because some people have to have multiple tests and Matt was very clear that the target number he uses is the number of tests that are run."
When asked directly how many people were tested yesterday, Mr. Argar said: “We performed 135,645 tests. We focus on that. That is the important statistic. & # 39;
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