The leader of the opposition has attacked Boris Johnson for providing avoiding questions and giving ‘dodgy answers’ at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).
In the latest exchange Sir Keir Starmer pressed Boris Johnson on whether the contact tracing app is critical or not in combating the virus, as further steps were taken to ease lockdown.
He said: ‘Up until last week, the government maintained that the app was critical, another of their slides (at the daily briefing).
‘But at the weekend (health secretary Matt Hancock) downplayed the app, saying it was only ever additional support. So which is it – critical or not?’
Dismissing the question, Johnson responded: ‘I wonder whether (Sir Keir) can name a single country in the world that has a functional contact tracing app? Because there isn’t one.’
But when the Labour leader rose to his feet, he answered: ‘Germany – 12 million downloads. I checked that overnight.’
The Labour leader said other countries are ahead of the UK, asking: ‘When are we going to have a working app?’
But Johnson insisted Sir Keir was ‘completely wrong’, adding in the Commons: ‘No country in the world has a working contact tracing app and I’ve always been clear, we’ve always been clear, that the app would be the icing on the cake.
‘If we can get it to work it’ll be a fine thing but there isn’t one anywhere in the world so far.’
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As the PM blustered over whether Starmer would support Labour councils getting children back to school in their areas – to which he replied ‘yes’ – the opposition leader went on the attack.
Starmer said there is a theme to his exchanges with Boris Johnson in which the prime minister gives ‘dodgy answers’.
He highlighted how two previous answers from the PM about a decrease in absolute child poverty and relative child poverty were judged ‘mostly false’ by the office of the Children’s Commissioner for England, while another claim about fewer families living in poverty was also deemed ‘false’.
Sir Keir, who had been mocked by Johnson for his legal background, continued: ‘He’s been found out. He either dodges the question or he gives dodgy answers.
‘No more witnesses, I rest my case. Will the prime minister do the decent thing and correct the record in relation to child poverty?’
Johnson replied: ‘I’m happy to point out to my learned friend that actually there are 100,000 fewer children in absolute poverty and 500,000 falling below the thresholds of low income and material deprivation.’
The PM defended the government’s spending record before returning to the topic of encouraging children back to school.
Earlier in the session speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle rebuked the prime minister for claiming that his opponent had ‘mislead’ the House of Commons with his claims.