Labour Party leader Keir Starmer called on Boris Johnson to “correct the record” after the Prime Minister claimed that the government did not advise care homes that residents were unlikely to catch coronavirus.
Sir Keir penned a letter to the PM on Wednesday demanding clarification over official guidelines and that it is “more important than ever that Government ministers are accurate in the information they give”.
Keir Starmer’s letter to the PM asking him to “correct the record and to recognise that this was official Government guidance regarding care homes” pic.twitter.com/MiUSOVmhfG— Matt Honeycombe-Foster (@matt_hfoster) May 13, 2020
The address follows an exchange in the House of Commons during the second Prime Ministers Questions (PMQs) between the two leaders where Starmer cited the government’s own official advice to care homes in February to care homes.
Holding up the document at the dispatch box, he cited the guidelines which were in force until March 13, reading “it remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected”.
At today's PMQs Keir Starmer quoted from official government advice that said "It remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected"— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) May 13, 2020
Yesterday's ONS figures showed that at least 40% of all UK COVID deaths came from care homes. pic.twitter.com/EcxCNbZFnv
The Prime Minister denied that the advice claimed care home residents were unlike to become infected and lauded the "huge exercise in testing" and announced a "further £600million pounds" for infection control in care homes.
Sir Keir shot back at the PM, saying that he was "surprised" that the Prime Minister questions the advice "of his own government" until the 12th of March.
A Conservative spokesperson accused the Labour leader of of “inaccurately and selectively” quoting the governments document highlighting that he used the word “remains” regarding it being very unlikely people in care homes will become infected, while the actual guidance says “therefore”.
“So in his letter the leader of the opposition actually concedes that he hasn’t quoted accurately from the document”, the spokesperson claimed.
In response a spokesman for Sir Keir said "the British people can read the guidance for themselves" and that the leadership stands by the letter.
The exchange comes as the United Kingdom struggles to fight the coronavirus pandemic, last week rising to the most recorded deaths of any country in Europe.
As of Tuesday, the UK's coronavirus death toll reached above 400,000 with 10,000 of the more than 35,000 new cases being care home residents, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.