Boris Johnson was reportedly “clearly rattled” with Labour Leader Keir Starmer after a recent PMQs showdown over care homes, according to an insider.
The spat erupted after Starmer accused the government of telling care home providers back in February that it was “very unlikely” that people receiving care “will become infected”.
Since then, there have been more than 8,000 deaths in care homes as a result of coronavirus, with Starmer claiming this accounts for a large chunk of all Covid-19 cases across the UK.
Starmer said at the time:
Mr Speaker, in a speech on Sunday, the prime minister said that we need to rapidly reverse the awful epidemic in our care homes. But earlier this year and until the 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.'
Yesterday's ONS figures show that at least 40 per cent of all deaths from Covid-19 were in care homes. Does the prime minister accept that the government was too slow to protect people in care homes?
Johnson denied Starmer’s claims, but admitted it was “absolutely true that the number of casualties has been too high” in care homes:
Except the guidance at the time did say what Starmer claimed.
The PM also clarified that the advice about the threat in care homes being “very unlikely” was intended for a period when transmission rates in the UK were still very low.
Nevertheless, Johnson was reportedly “clearly rattled” after the PMQs confrontation.
According to The Times:
He came back and used a deleted expletive about Starmer.
As a result of Starmer’s accusation, Number 10 released a statement attacking Labour for quoting the guidance out of context.
The anonymous insider then claimed:
They were very, very cross at having to spend time doing that.
Tory MPs are also reportedly keen to get back into the Commons chamber so they can offer their vocal support for the leader, according to the insider:
They are desperate to get MPs back and get some jeering and booing going.
At the time of writing, more than 246,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK and sadly 34,796 people have died.