Keir Starmer tells Boris Johnson to ‘get a grip’ ahead of PMQs

Keir Starmer in the House of Commons. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/Parliament TV.

Keir Starmer in the House of Commons. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/Parliament TV.

HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

Labour leader Keir Starmer has told the government to stop ‘winging it’ in its handling of the coronavirus and told the prime minister to ‘get a grip’.

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The Labour leader stepped up his criticism of Johnson’s record as he prepared to face him at Prime Minister’s Questions for the first time since news emerged of the controversial lockdown trip made by Dominic Cummings.

In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “I am putting the prime minister on notice that he has got to get a grip and restore public confidence in the government’s handling of the epidemic.

“If we see a sharp rise in the R rate, the infection rate, or a swathe of local lockdowns, responsibility for that falls squarely at the door of No 10.

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“We all know the public have made huge sacrifices. This mismanagement of the last few weeks is the responsibility of the government.”

Sir Keir added: “My (worry) is that after a week or more of mismanagement, I’m deeply concerned the government has made a difficult situation 10 times worse. There is a growing concern the government is now winging it.

“At precisely the time when there should have been maximum trust in the government, confidence has collapsed.”

All eyes will be on the House of Commons at midday to see how the prime minister performs opposite the Labour leader, with Johnson likely to be grilled over his support for his senior adviser over his decision to take his family 260 miles away to Durham in March to self-isolate.

The leaders will come face to face on the day the UK coronavirus death toll could reach 50,000, having passed 49,800 on Tuesday.

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