Keir Starmer calls for Boris Johnson to apologise for misleading MPs over coronavirus care home advice

PUBLISHED: 13:21 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:40 13 May 2020

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, listening to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire.

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, listening to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire.

HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on Boris Johnson to return to the Commons to correct the record about the coronavirus advice issued to care homes.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA WirePrime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire

In the Commons, Sir Keir said the government’s own official advice was “it remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected”.

But Johnson responded that it “wasn’t true that the advice said that”.

In his letter, the Labour leader pointed out the official guidance published on February 25 said it was “very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected”.

In making his request, Sir Keir said: “At this time of national crisis, it is more important than ever that government ministers are accurate in the information they give.

“Given this, I expect you to come to the House of Commons at the earliest opportunity to correct the record and to recognise that this was official government guidance regarding care homes.”

TNE columnist James Ball said: “Boris Johnson’s inability to master a brief has really bitten him hard this time. Interesting test for the new Speaker – will he make Johnson correct his statement to the House?”

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy tweeted: “With so many heartbreaking deaths in care homes it is deeply concerning that the prime minister doesn’t even appear to understand his own government’s guidance.

“He must come to parliament to clear this up. In a public health crisis public confidence matters.”


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Downing Street hit back by claiming Starmer had “inaccurately and selectively” quoted from official guidance.

A source told a Westminster briefing that he had omitted the preceding sentence which said the advice was “intended for the current position in the UK where there is currently no transmission of COVID-19 in the community”.

The source said: “I think what’s actually happened is that the leader of the opposition has inaccurately and selectively quoted from the Public Health England guidance and that is what the PM was referring to.”

They added Johnson would not be apologising.

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