Covid-19 Response

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:57 pm on 22nd April 2020.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield 12:57 pm, 22nd April 2020

I have known the Secretary of State ever since he came into Parliament. I know he has been unwell, but he would expect me to be robust in my question. As the Member of Parliament for Huddersfield and from the Yorkshire point of view, I think the management and leadership of the present crisis has been shambolic. We should never have been in a position where we lag so far behind Germany, a similar country to ours, and behind many of the other European nations. We are predicted to be the worst. Eight hundred and twenty-three people died—that is like two jumbo jets crashing. It is a large number. Every time the Secretary of State speaks, he thinks what he is doing is a triumph, but it is a shambles of leadership and management, and we are letting down NHS staff. They have been let down, and I am particularly angry about the fact that—as I understand—the early whistleblowers were leaned on and threatened with disciplinary action to stop brave young doctors and nurses standing up and telling us what it was like on the frontline. Is that the fact? Can he get his act together, because many of us do not believe that he is telling the truth to the people of this country—