Keir Starmer attacks Rishi Sunak for causing lockdown delay

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer speaking during the CBI annual conference at ITN Headquarters in central London. - Credit: PA

Sir Keir Starmer has attacked the chancellor's decision to block a "circuit breaker" lockdown and claimed the delay would have far-reaching consequences.

The leader of opposition said the chancellor's name was "all over" the decision to delay a nationwide lockdown during an appearance at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London.

Sir Keir said Sunak's decision to oppose a shorter, two- to three-week lockdown during October half-term would now mean businesses would have to close for longer and which could lead to more people losing their pubs and public finances worsening.

The Labour leader said: "It makes me so angry. And so frustrated that when the British people - and British businesses - have given so much and made so many sacrifices they have been let down so badly by the government."

He went on to say that Sunak had "failed to learn and failed to listen" and "failed to lead".

Sir Keir called for a circuit-breaker lockdown last month but had those calls rebuffed by the prime minister who accused him of "opportunism".

Sunak has described it as a "blunt instrument" that would cause "needless damage" to parts of the country where virus rates were low.

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Sir Keir said the government must use the lockdown to repair the Test and Trace programme and hive local authorities more control of the system and demanded the government provide a "clear and transparent road map" to protect businesses and the NHS over the coming months.

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