WATCH: Rees-Mogg says test and trace going “as well as could be expected”

Conservative minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended the government’s much-criticised test and trace programme, saying that it is going “as well as could be possibly be expected”.

The Leader of the House of Commons said this afternoon that he disagreed with the opposition’s condemnation of the testing regime and argued that the policy was in fact a “success”.

Rees-Mogg said: “The testing issue is actually a government success, that if you think of the numbers that have been tested from a standing start at the beginning of the year hundreds of thousands of people are being tested.”

Describing how one of his own children needed testing, he added: “It’s right people should get tests when they need them, when they have symptoms. One of my children had a test last week, we got the result back and I got back to business.”

He concluded by saying: “I think it’s going as well as could possibly be expected considering the demand.”

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth criticised government failures on testing today after it was reported that no tests were available in any of UK’s ten worst coronavirus hotspots yesterday.

According to reports from LBC Radio, no tests were available in Bolton, Salford, Bradford, Blackburn, Oldham, Preston, Pendle, Rochdale, Tameside and Manchester – many of which are undergoing local lockdowns due to Covid spikes.

The Shadow Health Secretary told parliament today that the government is “losing control” of the pandemic because it had failed to build a functioning test and trace network.

The government has blamed the shortfall in tests on people asking for one when they do not need it, even though the Health Secretary told the public several times in July to get a test “if in doubt”.

More from LabourList