Engagements

Part of Prime Minister – in the House of Commons on 9th September 2020.

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

I will hear the measures later on, but we will in principle support them, as I have supported all the measures the Prime Minister has introduced, as he well knows. It is the right thing to do, and I have asked people to follow Government advice at every opportunity.

Nobody is attacking here. The Prime Minister needs to know how anxious hundreds of families are. In the past few weeks, they have been sent all over the country or told there are no tests. It cannot be brushed off. Earlier this year, the Health Secretary said:

“Anybody who needs a test can get a test, and it’s the most important thing that you can do to stop the spread of this virus.”

This is a very serious issue, but the Government line on it seems to be changing all the time. Yesterday, the director of NHS Test and Trace said,

“Can I…offer my…apologies to anyone who cannot get a covid test...it’s our laboratory processing” that is the problem. This morning, the Health Secretary changed tack and appeared to blame the public. I note that he made a statement yesterday and faced questions but he did not say anything about the excuse that he puts forward this morning that emerged overnight. So who is right—the director of Test and Trace, who says it is a laboratory problem, or the Health Secretary, who says it is the public’s fault?