Jess Phillips brands Boris Johnson a ‘liar’ after PMQs answer

PUBLISHED: 13:29 01 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:50 01 July 2020

Jess Phillips in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV

Jess Phillips in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV

Parliament TV

Labour MP Jess Phillips has accused Boris Johnson of lying in the House of Commons, after he answered questions on local lockdowns during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

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During PMQs, Boris Johnson denied claims from Labour leader Keir Starmer that the mayor for Leicester city had been trying “for weeks” to get the full data on the number of coronavirus cases for the area, but that they were only given it shortly before the local lockdown last Thursday.

Starmer said there had been a “lost week” between June 18 - when the health secretary first raised concerns about the area - and June 25 because government was slow to share the data.

But the prime minister claimed he was “mistaken”, saying his government “acted decisively” to “put on the brakes”.

He explained: “Both pillar one and pillar two data have been shared not just with Leicester but with all authorities across the country.

Boris Johnson departs 10 Downing Street, in Westminster. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA WireBoris Johnson departs 10 Downing Street, in Westminster. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

“We did in Leicester exactly what we did in Kirklees, Bradford, Weston-super-Mare or other places where very effective whack-a-mole strategies have been put in place [to deal with outbreaks].”

But the leader of the opposition said the mayor had spoken to both himself and the PM before the session, and he was “clear” on when he received the data.

He said: “He made absolutely clear he did not get that data until last Thursday, I doubt he told the prime minister differently yesterday, he can’t just bat away challenge.”

The claims were also refuted by Labour politicians, including a local MP, with one branding Johnson a “liar”.


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Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley and shadow minister for domestic violence, tweeted: “Boris Johnson is just lying. It has been incredibly hard for local authorities to get data and information from the beginning of the crisis.

MORE: Boris Johnson accused of being ‘blind to the risks’ of easing lockdown

“It won’t be a shock that he’s a liar but still makes my blood boil that he just stands and lies while people are sick and losing their jobs.”

She added: “The plain and simple fact is that the prime minister is lying and his saving face matters more than saving lives and jobs.”

Labour MP Yvette Cooper also said health authorities in her constituency in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had been trying to get hold of pillar two testing data but had not been able to.

She said: “Our local public health teams, council, NHS doctors & managers in Wakefield have had to fight for months to try to get this data.

“In public health crisis, most important thing is knowing where infection is. Appalling and incomprehensible that basic info hasn’t been provided.

“The idea this could have been ministerial choice rather than failure of competence is even more shocking. What on earth is going on?”

Liz Kendall, a local MP, wrote: “One of the country’s leading respiratory doctors and consultant at Glenfield Hospital, in my constituency, confirms what Keir Starmer has just said - the true numbers & demographic data were NOT shared with Leicester”.

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