Covid-19: Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:44 pm on 11th May 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 3:44 pm, 11th May 2020

It is obvious that the past 24 hours have spread confusion, yet today the public desperately need to be given clarity. Lives are at risk, so political judgments and verdicts on this weekend’s chaos will have to wait for another day. I respect the right of the Prime Minister to make judgments on the basis of his scientific advice. I hope he is right in the determinations he is making, and that, crucially, if evidence suggests an increase in the R-rate, he will be prepared to act accordingly.

We need to be guided by one clear understanding, which is that mixed messaging risks lives. In order urgently to re-establish clarity, I wish to ask the Prime Minister five specific questions, and I genuinely urge him to provide five clear answers.

For clarity, will the Prime Minister confirm that he accepts and respects that in the devolved nations, the advice clearly remains, “Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”, and that it is the legal right of all the First Ministers to set their approach for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

In terms of the new slogan, last night the Prime Minister said:

“I have consulted across the political spectrum, across all four nations of the UK.”

Can the Prime Minister therefore explain why his Government did not share his new slogan with the devolved Administrations, leaving them to learn of the change in the Sunday newspapers? Further to that, will he commit not to deploy this new slogan in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland unless the devolved Governments decide otherwise?

On quarantining following travel, when will these quarantine measures come into force, and can the Prime Minister confirm whether his own Transport Secretary has told airline industry leaders that if there are too many obstacles in implementing it, it may not even happen?

Finally, for ultimate clarity, will the Prime Minister reaffirm for the public and businesses in Scotland that the advice that they should follow will come directly from the Scottish Government, and is not the advice that he gave in last night’s broadcast?