PMQs: Keir Starmer provokes angry response from Boris Johnson over care homes

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer and prime minister Boris Johnson during PMQs in the House of Comm

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer and prime minister Boris Johnson during PMQs in the House of Commons; ParliamentLive.TV - Credit: Archant

Boris Johnson has claimed Sir Keir Starmer is 'ignorant of the facts' after the opposition leader quoted a care home boss at him during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs).

Sir Keir quoted Care England's chief executive who said that, despite a government announcement on increased testing in care homes, facilities had yet to receive more swabs.

The Labour leader pressed the prime minister on claims that elderly coronavirus patients were not being tested before being transferred to care homes from hospitals.

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'The government advice from the second to the 15th of April was that, I quote, 'negative tests were not required prior to transfers or admissions into care homes'. What's protective about that?'

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Johnson hit back accusing the opposition leader of 'feigning ignorance' over attempts to boost testing and called his comments 'negative'.

'What I can tell him, I think he's feigned ignorance really doesn't come well, is that today I am confident that we will have a test and trace operation that will enable us to make progress, if all other conditions are satisfied,' the prime minister rebutted.

Sir Keir insisted he was 'right' to ask about deaths in care homes.

He told Johnson: '34,000 deaths is not negative. Of course I'm going to ask about that, I'm quite right to.

'For 10 weeks there has been no tracing, unlike Germany and South Korea. Tracing is critical, there's no getting away from that.'

The heated exchange came as Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle threatened to eject health minister Matt Hancock for heckling.

The government claims that deaths in care homes has reduced by 31% since it implemented a care homes 'action plan' and that admissions from hospitals has dropped 40% in March from January.

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