Stop breaking your promises on coronavirus, Rayner tells Johnson
The Labour deputy leader stood in for Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Boris Johnson was told to stop making and breaking Covid-19 promises, as Labour warned “we don’t have weeks” to sort problems with the testing system.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner told MPs the Prime Minister “can’t deliver on his promises” despite having six months to “get this right”.
Ms Rayner stood in for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who found out shortly before Prime Minister’s Questions that one of his children had tested negative for Covid-19.
She opened her exchange with the Prime Minister by reading a message from “a man called Keir”, telling the Commons: “Keir wasn’t able to go to work today and his children couldn’t go to school because his family had to wait for their coronavirus test results despite the Prime Minister’s promise of results within 24 hours.
“Keir was able to do the right thing and self-isolate and work from home, but other people aren’t in this position – many of them are the very people getting us through this crisis.”
Ms Rayner also said Mr Johnson once earned £2,300 an hour, asking: “So can the Prime Minister tell us what is the average hourly rate for a care worker in this country?”
The Prime Minister said he understood a negative test had been returned for Sir Keir’s child, adding: “I don’t know why he is not here.”
He defended the speed of testing but did not offer an answer on the average hourly rate.
Ms Rayner noted: “The whole country would have seen that the Prime Minister doesn’t know how much a care worker earns because that was my question – the shameful fact is the average wage in social care is barely more than £8 an hour.”
She then urged the Prime Minister to “get some skates on” in delivering testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) to care homes ahead of winter.
Ms Rayner said: “The Prime Minister has put his faith in Operation Moonshot, but meanwhile on planet Earth there are no NHS tests available for several high-infection areas.”
Mr Johnson said to the best of his knowledge care homes in the country “should get weekly tests for all staff members and tests every 28 days for those who are in the care homes, the residents in the care homes”.
But Ms Rayner replied: “I heard what the Prime Minister had to say, but I have to say to him yesterday (Tuesday) the chief executive of Care England said ‘we were promised weekly testing for staff, that has not been delivered’.
“Time and time again he makes promises then breaks those promises. In June he told this House ‘I can undertake now to get all tests turned in 24 hours by the end of June’.
“They’ve had six months to get this right and yet the Prime Minister still can’t deliver on his promises.
“The Health Secretary said yesterday it would take weeks to sort this situation out.
“We don’t have weeks.”
Mr Johnson urged only those who need a test to get one.
He said: “The British people, quite understandably, are responding to that system, with a huge, huge surge in demand.
“And so it’s very important that everybody follows the guidance about when they should be getting a test.”
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