Sir Keir Starmer says Boris Johnson's 'roadmap' out of lockdown 'lacks clear directions'
11 May 2020, 18:05
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has hit out at Boris Johnson for unveiling a “roadmap” that lacks “clear directions”.
Sir Keir said the Government’s new three-stage plan to easing the lockdown has left “so many” with “questions that need answering”.
The Government published its 50-page blueprint for easing curbs in England as the eighth week of shut down began, including advice to wear face coverings and plans for primary schools to return for a month from 1 June.
The Prime Minister said the “smarter” social distancing measures would “control” the virus, but warned it was reliant on the "common sense of the British people" and “a wrong move could be disastrous”.
But it was rounded upon by Labour and trade unions who objected to the PM’s “crazy” call for millions of employees who cannot work from home to return to work this morning, only announced in his televised address last night.
In a rival broadcast to the nation on Monday night, following a day of mounting criticism over the “confused” messaging, Sir Keir called for “clarity and reassurance” from ministers.
The Prime Minister said he was setting out a roadmap but if we’re to complete the journey safely a roadmap needs clear directions. pic.twitter.com/6D7XblY0V6— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) May 11, 2020
“At this moment of national crisis we all rely on the Government to get this right,” he said. “What we needed from the Prime Minister last night was clarity and reassurance.
“We needed to hear that nobody would be asked to go to work or send their children to school without it being safe to do so.
“We needed to know that the huge problems we’ve seen with protective equipment are over. That the crisis in our care homes has finally been gripped.
“That everybody who needs a test can finally get one. Above all, we needed to know when we could see our loved ones again.
“The Prime Minister said he was setting out a road map, but if we’re to complete the journey safely a roadmap needs clear directions.”
The Government’s new three-stage roadmap includes a “conditional plan” to allow people in England to visit parks with one member of another household - following social distancing - and travel an unlimited distance for leisure.
Step two may also see sporting events resuming behind closed doors and some non-essential shops reopening.
Pubs, hairdressers and cinemas would not get to reopen until 4 July - step three - at the earliest, and only with strict social distancing in force.
But the PM warned that if the Government’s new virus ‘alert level’ rises from its current four to the most severe stage five, the restrictions will tighten, adding the five tests to lifting the lockdown were not met.
"We will have no hesitation in putting on the brakes, delaying or reintroducing measures – locally, regionally or nationally,” he told the Commons on Monday.
Downing Street has been rebuked by devolved leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordering Scots to ignore the PM’s “vague” and “imprecise” new approach.