Iain Dale 4pm - 7pm
Boris Johnson v Keir Starmer: Nigel Farage scrutinises their PMQs performances
6 May 2020, 18:51
Nigel Farage scrutinised Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer's performances in Prime Minister's Questions after they faced each other for the first time today.
The PM was back at work after recovering from Covid-19 and made his return to the dispatch box to answer questions about the coronavirus crisis.
The day after the UK's death toll overtook Italy to become the worst in Europe, and second worst in the world, the Prime Minister had questions to answer about the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was interesting to watch the exchange. Sir Keir was very lawyer-like as you would expect, well-briefed, he asked questions, he clearly had anticipated already what the answers would be with the follow-ups that then came afterwards," said Nigel.
During PMQs Boris Johnson set an ambition for a capacity of 200,000 tests a day by the end of April - Nigel believed this to be an "unforced error that came out of nowhere."
Keir Starmer asks why coronavirus testing has fallen back below 100,000 a day.— LBC (@LBC) May 6, 2020
Boris Johnson says 'capacity currently exceeds demand' but confirms the government is aiming to reach 200,000 a day by the end of this month.#PMQs pic.twitter.com/ONjLbI5CAW
"He's been very ill, he probably isn't back to 100%, there was a lot of umming and erring from Boris. It was, in boxing terms, a points win for Keir Starmer but not a knock out blow.
"Whilst the government is in huge trouble on the fact they stopped the whole tracing element on 12th March as Jenny Harries admitted yesterday, they simply hadn't got capacity.
"Sir Keir almost got Boris to admit that but didn't really follow up I didn't think as hard as he should have done. Similarly on testing, I felt like he could have been even more critical than he was," Nigel said.
He found Sir Keir's style of interrogation interesting because he was "polite, courteous, and it's a big marked contrast to Jeremy Corbyn."
Nigel reflected that this style may have appealed to the Corbynites, but Jeremy Corbyn's "seething" demeanour may not have appealed to the rest of the country.
Coronavirus latest: The UK’s official death toll at this point in the coronavirus crisis now stands at 30,076 after 649 more people died.