PMQs: Starmer calls on government to publish data behind 10pm curfew

7 October 2020, 12:31 | Updated: 7 October 2020, 12:38

Sir Keir Starmer challenged Boris Johnson at PMQs today
Sir Keir Starmer challenged Boris Johnson at PMQs today. Picture: PA

Sir Keir Starmer has called on Boris Johnson to publish the scientific data behind the government's 10pm curfew restriction ahead of a vote next week.

Sir Keir asked Mr Johnson for a commitment on publishing the scientific basis for the 10pm curfew before the House votes on it next Monday.

He asked the Prime Minister to publish the evidence that shows there is a scientific basis for the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, and to "review the rule" if he cannot do so.

Sir Keir said: "The Prime Minister can't explain why an area goes into restriction, he can't explain what the different restrictions are, he can't explain how restrictions end - this is getting ridiculous.

"Next week, this House will vote on whether to approve the 10pm rule. The Prime Minister knows that there are deeply-held views across the country in different ways on this. One question is now screaming out: is there a scientific basis for the 10pm rule?"

But the prime minister delivered a non-committal response saying "the basis on which we set out the curtailment of hospitality was the basis on which he accepted it two weeks ago - that is to reduce the spread of the virus and that is our objective."

In a heated PMQs session following the scandal of thousands of 'missed cases' caused by an IT glitch blamed on an excel spreadsheet, Mr Johnson questioned whether the Labour leader supports the Government's rule of six restrictive measures after the party abstained in a Commons vote.

Mr Johnson said: "What kind of a signal does this send to the people of the country about the robustness of the Labour Party and their willingness to enforce the restrictions?

"That is not new leadership, that is no leadership."

The prime minister told the Commons: "What we are doing is a combination of national and local measures which one week he (Sir Keir Starmer) comes to this House and supports, and the next week mysteriously he decides to whisk his support away.

"He cannot even be bothered to mobilise his own benches to support something as fundamental as the rule of six, which he himself said only three weeks ago that he supported.

"He cannot continue to have it both ways. Does he support the rule of six? Yes or no?"