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Engagements

Part of Prime Minister – in the House of Commons on 13th May 2020.

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

Well, I am baffled. It is not me seeking to draw the comparisons; these are the Government’s slides, which have been used for seven weeks to reassure the public. The problem with the Prime Minister’s answer is that it is pretty obvious that for seven weeks—when we did not have the highest number in Europe—the slides were used for comparison purposes, and as soon as we hit that unenviable place, they have been dropped. Last week the Prime Minister quoted, in defence, Professor Spiegelhalter. This is what Professor Spiegelhalter said at the weekend, and we need to think about it:

“we should…use other countries to try and learn why our numbers are high”.

Dropping the comparisons means dropping the learning, and that is the real risk.

Let me now ask the Prime Minister about the changes coming into effect today. A real concern for many people is childcare. I want to quote a mother of a young child. I apologise that the quotation is a little lengthy, but it reflects the queries that all Members of this House will have been getting. She says this: “As Boris said in his speech, people are encouraged to go back to work, meaning my partner, as he works in construction. My partner has explained to his boss this can’t happen because we’ve got no childcare. He also rang the nursery, but they’re not open. I work as well, but my boss is having none of it. I hope I can get some advice. Me and my partner have been so stressed all day.” What advice would the Prime Minister give her?