Television presenter and campaigner Esther Rantzen has slammed Boris Johnson’s response to the coronavirus, saying the prime minister should not be proud of his support for children in particular.
Asked by Julia Hartley-Brewer about the coronavirus support, she said: “In Boris’ place I don’t think I would be proud of my record, I would be challenged by what has happened across the nation, as a result of the pandemic.
“With so many more people unemployed, finding life very difficult, and so many children therefore being made vulnerable.
“So I think if I was to criticise Boris, who I think has been great fun in my great life as a columnist and journalist where I think his talent was exactly suited, now he is full of big words like ‘world-beating’ and all those Trump-y, braggy statements. No, I don’t think the prime minister should be proud, I think he should recognise the challenge.”
She continued to explain that “if I were an MP now, and I was the least successful parliamentary candidate in the history of general elections once, I would listen very carefully to a debate and I would say to the prime minister ‘give us a free vote. Let us vote with our consciences and your arguments. If you can convince me that your system works for the most vulnerable children, you can have my vote, if you can’t you won’t’.”
Rantzen said ideally she would like to see schools to stay home open, particularly during the winter holidays, “to assure those free school meal children that those meals will still continue”.