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Engagements

Part of Prime Minister – in the House of Commons on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

May I add my congratulations, the congratulations of the Labour party and, I am sure, of everybody in this House to the Prime Minister and Carrie Symonds on the birth of their baby boy? Whatever differences we have in this House, as human beings I think we all recognise the anxiety that the Prime Minister and Carrie must have gone through in these past few weeks—unimaginable anxiety—so I really hope that this brings them incredible relief and joy. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”]

I join with the words of the First Secretary on those who died on the frontline, and on what he said about Captain Tom Moore—an inspiration to all of us.

Yesterday, an important set of figures was published about the deaths from coronavirus. First were the deaths in hospital, which currently stand at 21,678—that is the number that is published every day. On top of that, yesterday we saw the Care Quality Commission figures for deaths in care homes for the two weeks ending last Friday. That was a figure of 4,343. At the same time, the Office for National Statistics published the figures for deaths outside of hospitals and outside of care homes, which, up to 17 April, was a total of 1,220. There is a bit of complication because of the different dates, but that makes a total to date of 27,241 recorded deaths from coronavirus, and that is probably an underestimate because of the time lag. Behind each number is, of course, a family shaken to its foundations.

Six weeks ago, on 17 March, the Government’s chief scientific adviser indicated that the Government hoped to keep the overall number of deaths from coronavirus to below 20,000. He said that that would be “good”, by which, in fairness to him, he meant successful in the circumstances. We are clearly already way above that number—and we are only part way through this crisis. We are possibly on track to have one of the worst death rates in Europe. On Monday, the Prime Minister said in his short speech that “many people” were

“looking now at our apparent success” in the United Kingdom, but does the First Secretary agree with me that, far from success, the latest figures are truly dreadful?