Shadow Foreign Secretary lambasts Government messaging around testing as Moonshot is introduced

10 September 2020, 12:56

By Fiona Jones

Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy branded the Government's messaging around coronavirus testing unclear, calling for Matt Hancock to give clarity on what he wants people to do before introducing a new £100 billion system.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy is hopeful for "Operation Moonshot", which would see millions of UK-wide tests carried out daily, but says we need an "element of realism."

"We've currently got a situation where people in places like Wigan can't even get a test, or are being asked to go hundreds of miles to get one," the Wigan MP said.

She called for an acknowledgement that there are problems in the current system and a "learning curve" before the UK moves into a system of mass testing which is estimated to cost £100 billion, a price tag estimated in leaked documents by the British Medical Journal.

"You can't just put the same plans in place that aren't currently working...and expect the problems to miraculously disappear," Ms Nandy said.

Nick pointed out, on behalf of his listeners, that the Government gave somewhat muddled messaging yesterday, both announcing this testing plan and the new coronavirus restriction which will limit gatherings to six people.

Read more: What are the new rules on social gatherings in England?

Shadow Foreign Secretary lambasts Government messaging around testing as Moonshot is introduced
Shadow Foreign Secretary lambasts Government messaging around testing as Moonshot is introduced. Picture: LBC

Ms Nandy agreed, "There's a bigger problem with communication, even in what we're being asked to do right now, the Government isn't clear.

"A few days ago Matt Hancock said you must go and get a test if you have symptoms, and this morning and yesterday he appeared to suggest the problem with the testing regime was that the public were asking for too many tests.

"We need some clarity from the Government around what people are being asked to do because my sense is still that for all the frustration, for all the difficulties, people will follow the rules and do what they're asked to do.

"But they won't do that if they're not clear on what that is or why they're being asked to do it."

Nick Ferrari asked her about the new Brexit bill which the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has admitted "breaks international law."

Ms Nandy responded that the Government must "stop posturing, stop threatening to break international law and get on with the promise that they made to the British people and to get Brexit done."