Sunday shows: Nandy, Ashworth and Allin-Khan on the coronavirus outbreak

Ridge on Sunday

Jonathan Ashworth repeated his call for the government to publish the science behind its approach and said it was “unacceptable” for government sources to be “briefing journalists overnight”.

  • On testing: “The World Health Organisation is saying that we should continue testing and contact tracing… I just need to understand better why the government is taking a different approach.”
  • On briefing journalists: “Utterly unacceptable for government sources to be briefing journalists overnight on issues which are very, very fundamental to how we deal with this virus.”
  • On whether we should be taking more stringent actions: “It’s not for me to adjudicate… But I think it’s important that when people are raising concerns that the government modelling is published and can be scrutinised.”
  • Asked about NHS preparedness: “We know we don’t have enough beds in the NHS, we certainly don’t have enough intensive care beds.
  • He added: “We need to understand whether the government is able to scale up the intensive care bed capacity.”
  • Asked about ventilators: “We need to buy up those ventilators, we should have been doing that weeks ago. But of course, ventilators need staff to operate them.”
  • More specifically on NHS staffing: “Ministers urgently need to reassure us they have a resourcing plan in place to support NHS staff.”
  • Asked if people are selfish to stockpile: “No, I don’t think they are, I think they’re worried… People just want clear advice, not briefings to journalists overnight.”
  • On government information sharing: “The PM should be out there daily, speaking to the nation… People want that certainty and to be reassured that the government has a grip.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also appeared on the show. He confirmed that the UK needs “many more” ventilators, saying: “If you produce ventilators, then we will buy it – no number is too high.”

Asked to guarantee that everyone who needs a ventilator will get one: “We don’t make guarantees in healthcare… What I will guarantee is that we will do everything we possibly can to protect life.”

Hancock said that the government is “not yet” saying that elderly people need to self isolate for a period of four months, but that it is “clearly in the action plan” for people aged over 70 to self-isolate at some point.


The Andrew Marr Show

Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy talked about the government’s response to the virus, calling the last 48 hours a “real shambles”, and shared her thoughts on the Budget and a future immigration system.

  • On the government response to the virus: “The last 48 hours has been a real shambles… They effectively stuck on an out-of-hours and then went to ground.”
  • On government information sharing: “We need far more information from the government… The public must have confidence in the strategy.”
  • She added: “I would insist that we immediately publish the advice on which the strategy… We need to see far more information in the public domain.”
  • On whether Labour should support emergency powers: “It depends what they are… I’m really quite concerned by the idea that we’re giving sweeping powers to the police and immigration officers in order to detain people who are sick.”
  • On elderly people: “We don’t actually seem to have a real plan to deal with our older people and the fact that many of them are now going to be asked to self isolate for several months.”
  • On sick pay: “We need a workers’ task force set up to make sure that we deal with the outstanding issues of sick pay.”
  • On cross-party working: “If I do win in this contest and become Labour leader, we will be crossing the floor in order to say to the government let’s work together.”
  • Asked about the Budget: “Most of the things that the government said that they were going to do… they just haven’t done it. They’ve set up review after review after review.”
  • On money for devolved governments: “The Treasury has already decided how much of that money is going to be spent… This is a power grab from Whitehall.”
  • Asked about her ideal immigration system: “We need a much more flexible immigration policy that can respond to the needs of the nations and regions of the UK… That should be built from the ground-up by the leaders in those areas.”
  • She said she does “believe in free movement” and that the real problem with it was that “we used it as an excuse not to invest in young people”.
  • Asked how her campaign is continuing against the backdrop of coronavirus: “At the start of this contest, we launched an app, which was designed to be able to be used on people’s phones so that they could call up Labour members from wherever they were and see if they could persuade them to vote for me. We’ve actually taken that App now and offered it to be used to deal with the coronavirus crisis… The Nandwagon will continue to roll on.”


5 Live Politics

Deputy leadership candidate Dr Rosena Allin-Khan also answered questions about Covid-19. She said she did not think the situation should be politicised, and said “shambles is a strong word”.

  • On the decision for the NHS to use private hospital beds: “We need to really make sure that we have the capacity to deal with this epidemic and we need to be using resources from across the board. So I welcome the move.”
  • On pressure on the NHS: “I truly believe that this outbreak will highlight the gaping chasm that exists in regards to the under-resourcing of our NHS.”
  • On colleagues she is speaking to in the health service: “They don’t even have the protective equipment to keep themselves safe.”
  • She added: “We are looking at a very bleak picture. We are still in the midst of the winter crisis, which is no longer just confined to winter anymore.”
  • On availability of equipment, including ventilators: “We knew that we were facing a crisis weeks ago. Why wasn’t this looked into earlier?”
  • On the UK’s approach: “I don’t personally fully understand why our adopted practices are so entirely different to the rest of the world.”
  • On the government’s priorities: “I haven’t been reassured enough to this point that the government are really putting people’s lives first.”
  • On school closures and NHS staff: “We do need to make sure that NHS staff are protected when it comes to that – there needs to be things in place for them to take care of their children.”
  • On extra resources for the NHS: “We need to know more now about what it means exactly that the NHS will have everything that it needs.”
  • Asked about Nandy’s comments: “Shambles is a strong word… I don’t think this should be politicised. I believe, though, that we should be rightly asking questions of the government.

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