PMQs: Boris Johnson calls for apology from Keir Starmer over coronavirus stances

Boris Johnson (L) and Keir Starmer during Prime Minister's Questions

Boris Johnson (L) and Keir Starmer during Prime Minister's Questions - Credit:

Boris Johnson has used Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) to call for Sir Keir Starmer to apologise over his coronavirus stances.

Sir Keir said he would be speaking to bereaved families on Wednesday and asked the prime minister what message he would like to send to them.

Johnson responded: "The message I would give those families is the same I’ve given everybody I’ve met: I deeply, personally regret the loss of life, the suffering of their families.

“But I think the best thing we can do to honour the memory of those who have died and to honour those who are currently grieving is to work together to bring this virus down, to keep it under control in the way that we are.”

Johnson then accused the opposition of "political point-scoring".

"Mr Speaker, throughout this pandemic, I am sad to say that the leader of the opposition has never failed in his efforts to try to score political points," he said.

"He has twisted and he has turned. One week he calls for tougher border measures after the shadow transport secretary called for looser quarantine. He calls for schools to go back - he won't even say this morning that schools are safe."

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Johnson then cut off Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the speaker of the Commons, who had requested the prime minister sit down, to add: "He even attacked the vaccine task force for spending £675,000 on an effort to discover whether hard to reach groups would take a vaccine and I really cannot think of a better investment right now of public funds and I hope that later on this afternoon the right honourable gentleman might like to apologise over what he did."

Sir Keir earlier told MPs: “Every week the prime minister comes with his pre-prepared lines. I think when 100,000 people have died, he should take the time to answer the question.”

He added: “The UK is the first country in Europe to record 100,000 Covid deaths, we also have the deepest recession of any major economy, our schools are closed and our borders are open. My biggest concern is the prime minister still hasn’t learnt the lessons of last year, and I fear as a result we will see more tragedy and more grim milestones.”

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