Prime Minister’s Questions

Keir Starmer shows the complete failure of the UK government to deal with Covid, and the appalling resultant death rate. ABdP Johnson shows the Tories’ concern for spin and presentation. Can Mr Johnson explain 10,000 additional deaths in care homes? He can not.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition, gave the facts. The average number of deaths in care homes in April for the last five years has been just over 8000. This April, there were 26,000 deaths in care homes. 8000 are recorded as Covid deaths. He asked, can the PM say what the government’s thinking is on the additional 10,000 deaths?

Johnson: Covid is an appalling disease and the elderly are vulnerable. But since the care homes action plan began there are fewer deaths and fewer outbreaks in care homes. We need to reduce infections in care homes. We must fix it and we will.

That is, 10,000 additional deaths and he gives no answer. There are about 418,000 people in care homes, who must be terrified.

Starmer: we need to understand the figures. The overall figure given for Covid deaths is 32,600, greater than any other country but the US. The government has compared the figures to other countries, before, when ours were less. Yesterday, the government stopped publishing the international comparison. Why?

Johnson: The epidemic is unprecedented (untrue) once in a century (well, we hope so). Comparisons with other countries are premature. (So why has he been making them before now?) The figures are stark and deeply, deeply horrifying. This has been an appalling epidemic. We are getting the numbers down, and making small modest steps to come out of restrictions on going to work.

Johnson’s incompetence is skewered, no matter how much he wriggles. I would support the government in their efforts, if they were willing to admit the slightest mistake. This We are Fixing It line makes me hate him.

Dr. Jamie Wallace, Conservative for Bridgend, said the Tory government’s road map out of lockdown was clear, but in Wales the devolved Labour administration gave no such clarity. “Does he agree with me that the people of Wales deserve a government that is honest and clear with them about the road ahead?”

Wallace is so sycophantic, he fails to notice the trap he has laid for Johnson, who is opaque and blustering. Johnson said the four nations are working well together. People who talk of confusion or mixed messages are grossly overstating the position. The common sense of the British people is shining through this argument. They can see where we need to go.

John Spellar, Labour for Warley: The Foreign Office has washed its hands of people with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, stranded in other countries when their families are here. Will you sort this out?

Johnson: 1.3m British nationals (people with indefinite leave do not have citizenship) have now been returned. We are doing everything we can.

Peter Bone called for the Electoral Commission to be abolished. The commission attempts to ensure the fairness of our votes, with insufficient powers of investigation and sanction.

Johnson again refused to seek an extension of the Brexit negotiations. Remember that the disaster for the economy of the Tory hard Brexit is coming.

As a lawyer, I love Mr Starmer’s approach, and find Ian Blackford’s blustering by comparison. I can’t remember what Mr Johnson said that “surprised” Mr Starmer, but this particular piece of lawyers’ jargon needs explained. “I am surprised” means Dude! WTAF!!!!!!!

Mr Starmer was polite, and that is his way. Before, he was polite to trans-excluders, and trans people worried that he sympathised. Looking at what he said, he was not sympathising at all. In the same way with Mr Johnson he is raising the questions which must be answered eventually, and rather than shouting or repeating that the PM has not answered, he moved on. It will produce a clip or two for the news bulletins, showing Mr Starmer calm and measured, and I hope bringing out that Johnson did not answer about 10,000 unexplained deaths. I hope journalists and the public will continue to raise those questions, and I am doing so here now.

Right now, it’s lovely to see PMQ as a sort of headmaster’s office, where naughty Boris Bunter goes up before the beak and shouts Yarrooo a lot as he gets his deserved thrashing. The problem is that the Remove, indeed the whole rest of School outside that office, is firmly under Bunter’s control, and Bunter is selling it all off to buy cream cakes for him and his chums.

Once again.

10,000 unexplained additional deaths in care homes in April.

The deaths are coming down, though far too slowly for my liking. And between 7 March and 8 May there have been 49,833 deaths above the weekly national average in England and Wales, which declined from 11,498 to 9,576 as the weather warmed. At worst, that was a doubling of the weekly death rate. 33,365 deaths from Covid were registered in that period, though on 1 May the official Covid death rate was 27,510, being UK deaths in hospitals after a positive test. That figure is 33,186 at 13 May.

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