Sir Keir Starmer: The EU shouldn't block vaccines entering UK

22 March 2021, 11:18

Starmer: The EU "isn't helping itself" in vaccine row

By Sam Sholli

Sir Keir Starmer has told LBC has not helped itself on the subject of vaccines and shouldn't go down the road of banning exports.

The Labour leader's comments have come after EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has threatened a block of AstraZeneca exports from Europe to the UK.

The EU Commission President has previously stated the firm has "underproduced and underdelivered".

Speaking on his monthly phone-in with LBC listeners, Sir Keir Starmer said: "I don't think the EU is helping itself here.

"I don't think it has helped itself much in the last few weeks and months on the whole question of [vaccines] and I don't thin that they should go down this road of banning exports.

Starmer says he will support plans to extend Covid lockdown powers

"What we want is this resolved as soon as possible because we don't want any shortage in vaccines to interrupt the rollout in this country.

"And where contracts have been signed, they need to be honoured."

Sir Keir Starmer also told LBC his "default position" on Boris Johnson's extension to lockdown powers will be to support it.

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The Labour leader said: "We will look at the regulations but we have supported the government in these regulations every time they have put them before Parliament and that would be my starting position.

"We're not out of the pandemic. We are still rolling out the vaccine and in those circumstances, I think the Government needs these powers and I would be slow to vote against powers which allow statutory sick pay to start on day one, which is very important during the pandemic, and against provisions which say you can't be evicted during the pandemic if you've fallen behind in arrears.

"We will see what the Government puts on the table but my default position is that we will be supporting the Government on this."

READ MORE: JCVI deputy chair calls for 'grown up' solution to EU vaccine crisis