Sir Keir Starmer has taken a dig at Boris Johnson and questioned the loyalty of the Tory backbench during a heated session of Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).
Sir Keir said 32 backbench MPs had broken ranks to oppose the prime minister and many more had been questioning his authority.
Responding to a swipe over Labour’s support the NHS Test and Trace system, Sir Keir said: “I’m not going to take lectures on supporting.
“The lockdown measures were passed the other week with Labour votes.
“32 of his own MPs broke a three-line whip and I hear that about 50 of them have joined a WhatsApp group to work out how they are going to oppose him next time round.
“He should be thanking us for our support, not criticising.”
Johnson deflected, instead opting to reply: “Mr Speaker, I find it extraordinary that he is now coming out in favour of NHS Test and Trace when he’s continuously attacked it.”
The Labour leader also question Johnson over the financial support package for people having to self-isolate. Sir Keir highlighted: “As far as the £500 scheme is concerned, only one in eight workers qualifies for that scheme. The PM always does this talking about the number of people he’s helping but ignoring the huge numbers falling through the gap.
“It’s estimated that only about 11% of people self isolate when they’re asked to do so. 11%, that isn’t because they don’t want to, it’s because many don’t feel that they can afford to…We need to make easier and affordable for people to do so.”
Johnson replied: “We continue to encourage people to do the right thing. It does break the chain of transmission of the disease … We’ve given £13.5 billion so far in support for self-employed people, uplifted Universal Credit.”