Jonathan Ashworth: I don't agree the Prime Minister did all that he could

27 January 2021, 09:32 | Updated: 27 January 2021, 09:34

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth tells LBC it is ironic the Government did not 'take back control' of the UK's borders when it really mattered.

After the UK passed the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid deaths and Prime Minister Boris Johnson used a Downing Street press briefing to say the Government "truly did everything we could," LBC spoke to a Labour MP.

Nick Ferrari asked Shadow Health Secretary Johnathan Ashworth if he agreed that the Government had done everything it could.

"I'm really sorry, I don't," was his instant reply.

Read more: Boris Johnson 'deeply sorry' for lives lost as UK Covid deaths pass 100,000

He said this was not just because he was an opposition politician.

Mr Ashworth said "there have been errors there have been mistakes," he added that when mistakes have been made they have been repeated.

Read more: 'We tried everything we could,' Jenrick tells LBC after UK passes 100,000 Covid deaths

He called on the Government to help fix the financial support available to those who are self-isolating.

With Home Secretary Priti Patel expected to announce tougher border control measures later today, Mr Ashworth said this should probably have been put in place "months ago."

Questioning why the Government was not implementing a "more comprehensive" border plan the Labour MP quipped it was "ironic that Boris Johnson and Priti Patel apparently one of their big motivations is to take back control of our borders, but when we need them to take back control of our borders they didn't do it to keep us safe."

Read more: 'We will be restricting the borders even more than they are today,' Robert Jenrick says

Boris Johnson insisted he takes "full responsibility" for the response to the pandemic and said "we did everything we could" to minimise suffering as the Government's figure for coronavirus deaths passed 100,000. Separate data published by statistics agencies places the toll at 115,000.

Earlier on LBC Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Nick Ferrari: "We are very sorry for every life that's been lost during this extraordinary year," as the UK recorded more than 100,000 deaths with coronavirus, but reiterated the Prime Minister's statement that the Government "did everything we could".

He said: "With respect to PPE remember there was an international clamour for those supplies... we were doing everything we could possibly do.

"With respect to locking down, of course there are differences of opinion, but there is no easy or right time to do so... those are very finely balanced judgments."

He added "it's difficult to judge" when asked if the Christmas lockdown should have started seven days earlier.

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