- Keir Starmer uses his first outing as Labour Party leader at Prime Minister’s Questions to question the UK government’s response to the coronavirus.
- He accused Boris Johnson’s government of being “very slow” to ramp up testing.
- The UK is currently carrying out just 18,000 daily tests, despite setting a target of 100,000 a day.
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New Labour leader Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson’s government of being “way behind the curve” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, in his first outing at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Starmer, who addressed a largely empty House of Commons chamber on Wednesday due to social distancing rules, said the UK government had been “very slow” in meeting its pledge to carry out 100,000 tests by the end of April.
The latest figures show the UK is carrying out less than 18,000 tests each day.
Watch Keir Starmer’s first outing at Prime Minister’s Questions
Labour leader Keir Starmer says the UK is “behind the curve” on Covid-19 testing and asks how the government will hit its target of 100,000 tests a day
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) April 22, 2020
“We have been very slow and way behind other European countries,” Starmer said.
He added: “We’re way behind the curve and the end of the month is a week away tomorrow.”
The First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he recovers from the coronavirus, said the UK’s testing capacity was ahead of the figures stated by Starmer.
“I do have to correct him. Our capacity is now 40,000 tests a day which is an important milestone,” Raab told the Labour leader.
Starmer responded that: “I didn’t need correcting, because I gave the figure for the actual tests a day.”
The exchanges came after Members of Parliament on Tuesday voted to allow virtual attendance of the sessions.
MPs from around the UK used the video-conferencing app Zoom to address questions to the First Minister.