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Boris Johnson news - live: UK facing lockdown due to PM's 'failure,' says Rayner as Starmer says he must apologise

Follow the latest updates

Conrad Duncan
Sunday 20 September 2020 17:02
Matt Hancock: I would report my neighbour

The UK is facing the possibility of a second national lockdown due to Boris Johnson’s “failure and incompetence” on coronavirus, Labour’s deputy leader has warned.

Angela Rayner told her party’s virtual conference that there had never been a prime minister “more out of his depth and ill-equipped to the task” than Mr Johnson.

Her comments came after Labour’s leader Sir Keir Starmer said the PM should apologise over the chaotic testing system in the UK in recent weeks.


Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of UK politics today.

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 08:43

Labour’s Starmer says coronavirus tests must go to children

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged ministers to put children “at the front of the queue” for coronavirus tests to avoid further disruption to schooling,

His call came amid reports that 350 schools in England and Wales were forced to close completely or to send children home last week following positive Covid-19 tests.

“If the prime minister does not get a grip of the testing crisis, children will be robbed of an education. We are seeing a growing flood of schools closures,” Sir Keir said.

“The testing regime is not working, nor does it appreciate the unique challenges many families are having to cope with.”

He added: “That is why I'm urging the prime minister, like our key workers, to put children at the front of the queue for testing.

“To this week give parents a cast iron guarantee that they can get their child a test within 24 hours and the result back 24 hours later.”

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 08:53

Johnson faces Tory rebellion over new lockdown measures

Boris Johnson is facing the threat of a rebellion from senior Conservative MPs over plans to introduce tougher national restrictions to control a recent spike in coronavirus cases, according to reports.

MPs will have a say over whether to reauthorise the government’s coronavirus powers next week, in a potentially challenging vote for the prime minister.

The Daily Telegraph has reported Sir Graham Brady, the head of the 1922 committee of backbench Tories, is planning an amendment to require ministers to put new measures to a vote in the House of Commons.

“We now know the NHS coped well with the challenge of the virus and parliament has been sitting largely since April,” Sir Graham told the newspaper.

“There is now no justification for ministers ruling by emergency without reference to normal democratric processes.”

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 09:01

Starmer backs fines for people who break self-isolation rules

Sir Keir Starmer has said he supports the government's move towards fining those who do not comply with self-isolation requirements but warned it would not be a “silver bullet” for getting the pandemic under control.

The Labour leader was asked by Sky News' Sophy Ridge whether he thought the creation of a legal duty for people to self-isolate was a sensible policy.

“Look, I support that. There are a few people that are breaking the rules and something has to be done about that,” Sir Keir said.

“I have to say that I think that is not going to be the silver bullet, that isn't going to deal with the problem we're in.”

He added: “We've got rising infection rates, I think the whole country is concerned about that, but we have a testing system, just as we need it to be effective, is barely serviceable and this is a major problem."

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 09:09

Our reporter, Vincent Wood, has more details below on the potential Tory rebellion over the government’s coronavirus powers:

Backbench Tories plot to reign in government’s coronavirus powers in Commons showdown

‘There is now no justification for minister ruling by emergency powers’, prominent backbench Tory says

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 09:14

Johnson should apologise over testing failures, Starmer says

Sir Keir Starmer has said that if he was prime minister, he would apologise for testing being “all over the place” in recent weeks.

“I don't think a national lockdown is inevitable, I think it's more likely because testing is all over the place,” Sir Keir told Sky News.

“But I've said to the prime minister you need to take swift action, decisive action. The infection rate is clearly going up.

“The testing regime is all over the place and I think one of the concerns I have, and a lot of people have, is that because the government's now effectively lost control of testing, it doesn't necessarily know where the virus is.”

He added: “So if I was the prime minister, I would apologise for the fact that testing is all over the place and instead of using the summer to prepare for the autumn, which is what we said should happen, we're in this position just when we need testing to be at its very best, it's near collapse.”

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 09:21

Starmer was also questioned this morning on whether Labour’s “New Leadership” slogan was an indirect criticism of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party.

You can find his response below:

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 09:28

UK is facing ‘tipping point’ over coronavirus spread, Hancock warns

Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned the UK is facing a “tipping point” and the government will impose fresh national restrictions if the public fails to follow the existing rules.

Mr Hancock told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that he was “very worried” about the second wave of the pandemic emerging in the UK but said he wanted to avoid another national lockdown.

“The nation faces a tipping point,” he said.

“We have a choice. Either everybody follows the rules - the rule of six and the need to self-isolate if you have a positive test or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace - or we will have to take more measures.

“I don't want to see more measures, more restrictive measures, but if people don't follow the rules that is how the virus spreads.”

Mr Hancock added that the country’s “first line of defence” was people’s behaviour as he urged everyone to follow the rules.

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 09:35

Labour will campaign in Scotland against independence referendum, Starmer says

Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour will campaign against a second independence referendum in Scotland ahead of the 2021 Scottish parliamentary elections.

“I think another independence referendum will be divisive and that's why the Labour Party will be campaigning into the May elections on the economy, rebuilding the economy, on ensuring our public services are in the right place and defeating coronavirus,” Sir Keir told Sky News.

“I'm frustrated in a sense that in the middle of a pandemic we've got the SNP talking about independence, we've got the Tory party talking about Brexit when, in my view, they should be focusing on pulling together to defeat the virus.

“One of the things I think will take many, many people by surprise is that there hasn't been a Cobra meeting for months.”

When asked whether there should be another referendum if the SNP win a majority in May, he added: “The Labour Party will be campaigning into May on the basis that what we don't want is another divisive referendum.”

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 09:54

Matt Hancock’s response to Sir Keir Starmer’s call for the prime minister to apologise over testing failures can be found below:

Conrad Duncan20 September 2020 10:02

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