Johnson labelled ‘super-spreader’ of confusion in chaotic PMQs

Several Conservative MPs sat in a tightly packed group, many not wearing face coverings, at the final PMQs before Westminster's summer recess.

Johnson labelled ‘super-spreader’ of confusion in chaotic PMQs Parliament TV

Sir Keir Starmer branded Boris Johnson a “super-spreader” of confusion during a chaotic Prime Minister’s Questions.

The Labour leader warned the country faces a “summer of chaos” as he highlighted policy changes in England over isolation exemptions for people pinged by the NHS app and vaccine passports for nightclubs.

He added Johnson’s new three-word slogan should be “get a grip”, amid reports it will be “keep life moving”.

But the Prime Minister, dubbed the “Chequers one” by Sir Keir due to his appearance virtually from isolation at the country retreat, described the Opposition leader’s questions as “feeble stuff” and defended his decisions during the pandemic.

At one stage there was a struggle to hear Johnson in the chamber, which led to the Prime Minister asking Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle: “Do you want me to have another go? Can you hear me? Do you want me to give that answer again?”

The chamber was also at its busiest since March 2020 following the easing of restrictions in England.

Several Conservative MPs sat in a tightly packed group, many not wearing face coverings, while social-distancing was observed by the Labour benches.

Speaking in the Commons, Sir Keir said: “Everything may be calm from the Prime Minister’s country retreat but back here the truth is we’re heading for a summer of chaos.”

Referring to the crowded group of Tories on the Government benches, Sir Keir said: “There’s a lot of noise, I hope they’ve all got their NHS app on.”

Sir Keir said one million children were out of school last week while a “huge number” of businesses are closing due to staff isolating.

He highlighted confusion over the isolation exemption list before adding: “I know the Prime Minister likes to govern by three-word slogans, I think ‘on the hoof’ might work pretty well.”

Johnson hit back: “He wants to keep this country, as far as I understand his position, in lockdown.”

Sir Keir went on to highlight changes over policy, adding: “When it comes to creating confusion, the Prime Minister is a super-spreader.

“Why is it OK to go to a nightclub for the next six weeks without proof of a vaccine or test, and then from September it will only be OK to get into a nightclub if you’ve got a vaccine ID card?”

Johnson accused Sir Keir of trying to “score cheap political points” and noted: “Everybody can see we have to wait until the end of September, by which time it is only fair to the younger generation, when they will all have got the two jabs, before we consider something like asking people to be doubled jabbed before they can go into a nightclub.

“That’s blindingly obvious to everyone, it’s common sense.”

Johnson said it would also “encourage” younger people to get jabs.

In his concluding remarks, Sir Keir said: “Isn’t it clear there’s only three words this Prime Minister needs to focus on: get a grip.”

Johnson defended his record and claimed Sir Keir wants “some sort of perpetual lockdown”.

He said: “I’ll give him a three-word slogan. It’s ‘get a jab’. What we’re also doing is to help people get a job.

“We’re turning jabs, jabs, jabs into jobs, jobs, jobs.”

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