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During Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson told Sir Keir Starmer he should “take a leaf” out of former Labour Party leader Tony Blair’s book. The Prime Minister added that Mr Blair would not have spent four years in the same Shadow Cabinet as Jeremy Corbyn in a dig at Sir Keir’s time as Shadow Brexit Secretary under his predecessor.
Mr Johnson said: “I am grateful for his offer to work collaboratively but I have to say that the house will generally have noted that he has used this crisis as an opportunity to make political capital.
“To have what I think a Shadow Spokesperson called a ‘good crisis’.
“Can I commend a different approach as he has attacked the Government’s strategy?
“The former Labour leader has written a good piece in today’s Daily Mail in which he broadly supports this Government’s strategy.
“He has praised UK drug companies for what they are doing, supported our search for a vaccine and supporting mass testing in Liverpool.
“I am thinking that what he should do is take a leaf out of the Blair book.
“By the way, I can tell you that Tony Blair would not have spent four years in the same Shadow Cabinet as Jeremy Corbyn, standing shoulder to shoulder with him.”
Mr Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer also clashed over the UK Government’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Labour MP said: “On September 21, when the Government scientific advisers indicated the circuit break would bring the virus back under control, the number of people that day who tragically lost their lives to Covid-19 was 11.
“The Prime Minister ignored that advice. On Monday, 42 days later, the number of people who tragically lost their lives to Covid-19 was 397.
“That’s a staggering 35 fold increase.
“Does the Prime Minister understand the human cost of his delay in acting?”
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Mr Johnson replied: I think I speak for many honourable members across this House when I say I don’t think any government would want to impose these measures lightly, or any parliament would want to impose these measures lightly on the people of this country.
“And it was always right to pursue a local and a regional approach as our scientific advisers said and I’ll tell you why Mr Speaker, because that approach, that regional approach, actually was showing signs of working and still is showing signs of working.”
Mr Johnson added regarding the UK Government’s plans following the lockdown: “I’ve no doubt that we can and we’ll be able to go forward from December 2 with a very, very different approach.
“But, of course, it will be up to the House of Commons to decide, thereafter, what to do.”
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