Engagements

Part of Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:34 am on 22nd April 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 11:34 am, 22nd April 2020

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank you, the House authorities and the staff for allowing us to meet in this way today; it is important that we have this scrutiny. I also send all our best wishes through the First Secretary of State to the Prime Minister for a full and speedy recovery. I am sure I speak for the whole House in sending our best wishes to all those affected by coronavirus and the condolences of the whole House to those who have lost loved ones. Again on behalf of the whole House, I offer our deepest thanks to those on the frontline, risking their lives to keep us safe and our country going.

I promised that Labour would give constructive opposition, with the courage to support the Government where that was the right thing to do—we all want and need the Government to succeed and defeat coronavirus—but we also need the courage to challenge where we think they are getting it wrong. In that spirit, I want to start with testing. Testing is obviously crucial at every stage of the pandemic, but we have been very slow, and are way behind other European countries. The Health Secretary made a very important commitment to 100,000 tests a day by the end of April, but yesterday the figure for actual tests was 18,000, and that was down from Monday, when it was 19,000 tests. We are way behind the curve and the end of the month is a week tomorrow. What does the First Secretary expect to happen in the next eight days to get us from 18,000 tests a day to 100,000 tests a day?