Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour party asked Boris Johnson about 10,000 “unexplained deaths” in care homes
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of misleading the House of Commons, following government advice occupants of care homes were “very unlikely” to contract COVID-19.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has written a letter to Boris Johnson urging him back to the House of Commons in order to “recognise” that this was in-fact the government advice given earlier this year.
This news comes after there have been another 494 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK in the last 24 hours, with the total in the country rising to 33,186 fatalities.
During Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons today, Sir Keir brought up the official figures for COVID-19 deaths in care homes showing that they made up over 40% of the overall number of recent coronavirus deaths in the UK.
The Labour leader told MPs: “Earlier this year, and until 12 March, the government’s own official advice was, and I’m quoting from it, ‘it remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected’.”
After the Prime Minister announced a further £600m for infection control in care homes, Sir Keir urged Mr Johnson to
“accept that the government was too slow to protect people in care homes”.
Mr Johnson replied by saying that it:
“wasn’t true that the advice said that”
He added: “We brought the lockdown in care homes ahead of the general lockdown.”
Labour sources had later posted a link to a government webpage, relating to “guidance for social or community care and residential settings on COVID-19”.
The guidance on this webpage was published on the 25th of February and was “withdrawn on the 13th of March”, the webpage states.
Under a section referencing face masks, the government guidance states: “It remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected.”
The Labour leader wrote to the Boris Johnson following their exchanges at PMQs, Sir Keir wrote:
“At this time of national crisis, it is more important than ever that government ministers are accurate in the information they give,”
“Given this, I expect you to come to the House of Commons at the earliest opportunity to correct the record and to recognise that this was official government guidance regarding care homes.”
This news comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the government’s furlough scheme for a further four months until the end of October.
Sir Keir Starmer had also drawn attention to the Office for National Statistics’ figures on deaths.
“This year the number of deaths in care homes for April was a staggering
“26,000 – that’s three times the average – 18,000 additional deaths this April,”
“Using the government’s figures only 8,000 are recorded as COVID-19 deaths, that leaves 10,000 additional and unexplained care home deaths this April.“
“Now I know the government must have looked into this so can the prime minister give us the government’s views on these unexplained deaths?”
The Labour leader said that he was “disappointed” that the Prime Minister “doesn’t have an answer to the pretty obvious question as to what are those 10,000 unexplained deaths”.