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Part of Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 pm on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 12:00 pm, 14th October 2020

I think the Prime Minister is behind the curve again. He probably has not noticed that this morning, the council leaders in Greater Manchester that he just quoted, including the Mayor and the Conservative leader of Bolton Council, said in a press statement that they support a circuit break above tier 3 restrictions—keep up, Prime Minister.

The big problem the Prime Minister has, as the SAGE minutes make absolutely clear, is that his two main policies—track and trace and local restrictions—simply have not worked, and we cannot stand by. In July, the Prime Minister told me that track and trace

“will play a vital part in ensuring that we do not have a second spike this winter.”

Those were his words. Three months later, SAGE has concluded that track and trace is only

“having a marginal impact on transmission”.

It goes on to say—and this is the really worrying part—that this is likely to

“further decline in the future.”

Let us not have the usual nonsense that anyone asking the Prime Minister a question about track and trace is somehow knocking the NHS. This is SAGE’s assessment—the Government’s own advisers. After £12 billion, let us have a straight answer: why does the Prime Minister think that his track and trace system has gone so wrong?