Keir Starmer kicks off with PM's "get out of isolation free card" - asking if public should self-isolate if pinged.

Boris Johnson says isolation remains a "vital tool" but apologises to businesses/ public sector who are "experiencing any inconvenience".

Final #PMQs of session.
Starmer: "The British people are trying to follow the rules, how can they when his ministers keep making them up as they go along?"

(ref to ministers y'day saying app was "advisory" and "allow you to make informed decision" - No 10 insiders admit they didn't get "tone" right)
"We'll be heading for a summer of chaos" - Starmer

One million children out of school.

Businesses closing b/c staff self-isolating.

No 10 changing advice on which businesses exempt changing "hour by hour".

"Which workers will be exempt fr isolating before 16 Aug?"
Boris Johnson says it's "feeble stuff" from Starmer on disruption caused to families & biz by 'pingdemic'.

Not entirely sure the hundreds of businesses, thousands of workers and hundreds of thousands of families will quite feel like that.
Boris Johnson says of self-isolation requirement: "I understand peoples' frustrations but this is one of the few real tools we have in our armoury".

Well, there were other tools up to July 19 🤷‍♀️

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More from @PippaCrerar

21 Jul
BREAKING: Government confirms 3% pay rise for NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs.
Ministers originally suggested a rise of just 1% - a real terms pay cut - which was branded "insulting" by NHS workers.

It would have been politically *extremely* difficult for Health Secretary Sajid Javid to ignore recommendation of independent pay review body.
It comes after a chaotic few days of the pay announcement being on, off, then on again etc.

No 10 insiders suggesting there was some last minute wrangling over the detail. Not sure which bits.
Read 4 tweets
10 Jun
Science committee chair @GregClarkMP confirms that Dominic Cummings hasn't produced any evidence to back up his allegations - and says they must be regarded as "unproven".

"If serious allegations are made against an individual, they must be corroborated with evidence".
Clark going through Cummings allegations...

Did you knowingly lie to the PM?
Hancock: "No"

Did you claim that everybody received treatment they needed?
Hancock: "I did absolutely say that everybody got the Covid treatment that they needed".
Did you blame devastating PPE shortages on NHS chief Simon Stevens and Chancellor?

"No that is not a fair recollection of the situation".

He adds there were "huge challenges" including removing bureaucracy/ ripping up red tape.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
Excited to be at my first in-person press conference since the pandemic began, courtesy of the EU 🇪🇺 and Maroš Šefčovič. Looking forward to UK govt 🇬🇧following suit!
Maroš Šefčovič says still “numerous and fundamental” gaps in UK implementation of Brexit deal.

EU is “at a crossroads” in its relationship w/ UK. “Trust, which should be at the heart, needs to be restored”

Will act “swiftly, firmly and resolutely” if UK takes unilateral action
Šefčovič warns patience w/ UK is wearing “very very thin” & EU will “assess all options” at disposal.

These incl “cross-retaliation” such as suspending cooperation in some sectors & quota tariffs.

He adds: “I do not want this to happen...”
Read 6 tweets
9 Jun
Keir Starmer goes on Kevan Collins £15bn school catch-up plan at #PMQs.

(Which ended up as £3bn after Rishi Sunak said it was too expensive).

"The PM roles over, and children lose out. So much for levelling up."
Keir Starmer contrasts UK's catch-up funding for pupils at £50 p/ppl p/yr with US at £1,600 and
Netherlands £2,500.

Labour leader highlights free school meals, exam fiasco, now catch-up.

"The PM has been all over the place on education and he's on the wrong side of it again"
Schools are fertile electoral territory for Labour after years of cuts and more recent rows over free school meals, exam chaos & now catch-up funding.

School-funding was a massive issue at the 2017 general election...…
Read 4 tweets
7 Jun
Boris Johnson's foreign aid cuts are safe... for now.

But Speaker adds that MPs should get a vote - and drops big hint he'd allow an emergency debate as soon as tomorrow.
I'm told that former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, leader of the Tory foreign aid rebels, has applied for an emergency SO24 debate tomorrow so MPs get a vote on the Government's plans. Speaker minded to grant it.
NEW: Former minister Andrew Mitchell applies for emergency SO24 debate on Govt plan for overseas aid cuts. He claims vote would've passed by "probably around 20", warning: "The House of Commons maths is not going to go away."
Read 5 tweets
26 May
Cummings up again. He says the "whole impetus" of the Government over the summer was to "pretend' everything was back to normal. Govt's biggest concern was economy. But on Sept 21, despite warnings fr scientists/ officials on need to lockdown, PM concluded "not to do anything".
Cummings claims that PM refused to take advice on September lockdown.

"He wasn't taking any advice. He was making the decisions himself. The Cabinet wasn't involved… There wasn't any formal Cabinet meeting to discuss it. Or if there was, it was a purely Potemkin exercise.”
Cummings claims that Boris Johnson didn't take health risks of Covid seriously - and thought economic harm to country was more damaging.

"There's this great misunderstanding because it nearly killed him that he must take it seriously..."
Read 4 tweets

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