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

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 11:34 am, 22nd April 2020

I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman, although I do not accept his premise that we have been slow. We have been guided by the scientific advice, the chief scientific adviser and the chief medical officer at every step along the way. If he thinks that he knows better than they do, with the benefit of hindsight, then that is his decision, but that is not the way we have proceeded, and it is not the way we will in future.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned offers from British businesses. It is not quite right to say that they must have been acceptable for UK standards just because they are supplying different needs for different countries abroad, but I reassure him that 8,000 businesses have offered PPE in response to the Government’s call. Every business receives a response, and 3,000 of those 8,000 are followed up where they have either the specification or the volume that makes it a sensible thing for the NHS to do.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman made a sensible point about specifications and health standards. He will know from the reporting that in other countries that have distributed PPE items without those high standards, they have been distributed with faults or flaws, they have had to be recalled, and health workers in those countries have had to go into isolation. I appreciate that he wants to put pressure on and scrutinise the Government, but I think and hope that he will understand the need to take the right decisions and to scrutinise very carefully the precious PPE that we are putting on the frontline to protect our key workers.