Sunday shows: “We are not prepared” for coronavirus, says Jeremy Corbyn

Elliot Chappell

Ridge on Sunday

Jeremy Corbyn discussed his legacy as Labour leader, the party’s leadership elections and the government’s response to coronavirus.

  • Asked if he thinks that the NHS is prepared for a crisis like this: “No, I don’t… We are not prepared for it, we were not prepared for it, and surely this is a message that we have to properly fund our public services.”
  • On testing NHS staff: “The rate of testing we’re doing in this country is far too low… Even all NHS staff haven’t been tested – let alone care staff.”
  • On measures of support: “I welcome a large part of the economic package the government produced on Friday… But for the self employed it is very difficult.”
  • On the self-employed: “If they’re told to stay home, and all they can access is benefits through universal credit… They are going to go out.”
  • On what more needs to be done: “The government has got to give a message or a signal about raising statutory sick pay and about the self-employed.
  • On the scale of the investment: “The amount of money that has now been found to invest in our economy is great, it’s huge and it’s what I was condemned for asking for to deal with austerity and poverty in Britain three months ago.”
  • He added: “Of course it’s a different time, but we just have to recognise as a society that ten years of austerity has left us a bit vulnerable.”
  • On the longer-term impact of the crisis: “The principle of caring for everybody in our society is now absolutely centre stage… I think as a society we’re going to be stronger at the end of this not weaker.”
  • On parliament: “Parliament should remain in session – it’s very important that we have the chance to put questions to the government and of course there’s legislation that’s going to come up on Monday.”
  • On his legacy as Labour leader: “We’ve changed the agenda on the economy, we’ve changed the agenda on social justice, changed the agenda on green industrial revolution and environmental sustainability.”
  • On the election: “We had unprecedented attacks made against us… Obviously I am very disappointed by the election result. In the end, the 2019 election was the Brexit election.”
  • To Labour members voting for the next leader: “Think through who’s going to carry through the anti-austerity agenda but also think through the need to strengthen democracy within our party.”
  • On his work after he officially steps down on April 4th: “I am not disappearing from anywhere.”
  • Asked if he has a shadow cabinet role in mind, he said only:”I have always spent my life trying to deal with issues of human rights and justice around the world and that is something, whether I have a position is not important.”

The Andrew Marr Show

London mayor Sadiq Khan faced questions about the virus as well, discussing special police powers and the possibility of stopping the tube and locking down London completely.

  • On the crisis: “Life has changed. We’ve got to do things differently for a while now… These are extraordinary times which call for extraordinary measures.”
  • When suggested that he should have been this tough earlier: “The government only last Monday allowed me to attend COBRA… I discovered last Monday that things are as bad as they are.”
  • Asked about people still socialising: “Unless people stop interacting with each other, more people will die… Please, please, please stop mixing. Stay at home.”
  • On whether the police should have special powers: “If it is the case that people continue to act in a way that is leading to this disease spreading, then those sorts of things will be things that will have to be considered.”
  • On stopping the tube: “I’m really keen to make sure that public transport is available for our critical workers… Nobody else should be using public transport.”
  • On protections for TfL staff: “We’re now using the antiviral, antibacterial disinfectant used in hospitals. We’ve made sure there’s the enhanced cleaning regime… We’re also testing some longer lasting antiviral disinfectants.”
  • Asked if masks would be supplied for bus drivers and tube workers: “At the moment, the advice from public health England is not to give our public transport workers and others masks but if that advice changes, of course we will.”
  • On whether London should be in lock down, he said only: “You’ll see from Monday fewer trains… also we are running a weekend service during the week.”

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