Sir Keir Starmer says Boris Johnson acted 'too slow' on coronavirus

5 August 2020, 08:52

Sit Keir Starmer has said Boris Johnson acted "too slow" when dealing with coronavirus
Sit Keir Starmer has said Boris Johnson acted "too slow" when dealing with coronavirus. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said Boris Johnson was "too slow to act" throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Sir Keir warned the nation is at a "crucial point" in the fight against coronavirus and that Britain faced "a long and bleak winter" if immediate steps were not taken to ensure the country was better prepared for a second wave.

Writing in The Guardian, Sir Keir pointed to the Government's lack of clear communication throughout the crisis and its Test and Trace programme as the areas most in need of rapid improvement.

He wrote: "On the occasions that the government has acted at pace, it has too often done so without a clear plan. Trying to get answers and clarity from the prime minister is a frustrating experience.

"His repeated refusal to accept that test and trace isn't functioning properly is a roadblock to fixing the issues and restoring public confidence."

The NHS Test and Trace programme has recently come under fire for not reaching enough people who have tested positive or their close contacts, with researchers warning that the system in its current state would not be enough to stave off a second wave in the winter.

Boris Johnson has been criticised by his Labour rival
Boris Johnson has been criticised by his Labour rival. Picture: PA

Sir Keir also stressed that reopening schools for the new term must be a priority and further steps needed to be taken to ensure the NHS was ready to cope with another potential spike in infections.

"Any steps the government makes to regain the trust of the British people will have Labour's full support," he wrote.

"But the reality is that if the government doesn't use this summer wisely, focusing on driving down the rate of infection, Britain faces a long and bleak winter."

The Prime Minister has faced growing criticism for his handling of the pandemic, and polls have shown the gap between the Labour party and the Conservatives is narrowing .

It was previously revealed that an increasing number of people see Sir Keir as "Prime Minister in waiting", and 50 per cent of those polled thought of Mr Johnson as a "bad" PM.