Keir Starmer accuses Boris Johnson of being 'asleep at the wheel' in blistering attack on his judgement
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Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of being "asleep at the wheel" in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Starmer accused Johnson of "failing to take responsibility" for the crisis and pointed to Dominic Cummings's "ridiculous defence" of his trips to Durham as the moment government communications broke down.

The Labour leader said:

I think the prime minister has been asleep at the wheel, he has been slow. The communications has been terrible. 

It began to break down frankly when Dominic Cummings put forward a ridiculous defence of what he had done in the north east.

He then went on to criticise Johnson's apparent reluctance to appear on the ITV show.

According to Good Morning Britain's hosts, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, Johnson has been boycotting their show for two months following a series of difficult interviews.

Johnson famously dodged a GMB appearance during his election campaign in December by scurrying away into a fridge.

Starmer said Johnson should appear on the show because "messaging is important".

They should be using every opportunity to get their message across to the British people who have done amazing things in this crisis.

They should be on the programme, they should be getting their message across and they're not doing it.

He then went on to criticise the government's handling of the pandemic as "so bad" by every metric.

They didn't like getting tough questions about the way they were handling the pandemic, but I'm sorry when the death toll, as you say, is now the worst in Europe and second worst in the world, and on every metric we have been so bad in my opinion.

Starmer specifically singled out the government's slowness in delivering a working track, trace and isolate system as a failure, saying they "haven't done the groundwork" to make it successful.

He added that there was a "total lack of planning" when it came to reopening schools.

While Starmer slammed Johnson's handling of the pandemic and repeated refusal to appear on Good Morning Britain, the prime minister appeared on the first ever Times Radio show.

Johnson admitted that coronavirus has been a "nightmare" but said now is not the time to hold an inquiry.

This has been a disaster, let’s not mince our words, this has been an absolute nightmare for the country.

The country has gone through a profound shock. But in those moments you have the opportunity to change and to do things better.

While Johnson might not think now is the time to properly scrutinise his government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, questions about Britain's devastating death toll are clearly not going away.

The UK having the second highest recorded number of deaths in the world is shocking, and these questions will need to be answered at some point.

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