Public wants “roadmap” for the Covid crisis, says Starmer

Elliot Chappell

Keir Starmer has declared that the British public wants to see a “roadmap to get out of where we are now and to where we need to be” in the coronavirus crisis in response to a speech by the Prime Minister at Tory conference.

Responding to Boris Johnson’s keynote address to the Conservative Party this afternoon, the Labour leader told Sky News that people also want the Prime Minister to admit that there are “real problems” with the current strategy.

Starmer said: “What NHS workers on the frontline, the professionals I’ve been speaking to today and the country want from the Prime Minister is a sort of frank acknowledgement that there are real problems with the government’s approach.

“Everybody can see that infection rates are rising. Lots of areas are in restriction and don’t seem to be coming out of it and the testing regime just isn’t working.

“What people wanted was a frank acceptance that those problems are there and a roadmap to get out of where we are now, and to where we need to be – a roadmap, if you like, from here through to when we get a vaccination.”

The speech from Johnson today received widespread criticism from commentators for its lack of policy detail, being described as “alphabet soup of a speech” by one and “empty headline pitches” to distract the country from Covid by another.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner criticised the Prime Minister following his keynote speech to the virtual conference today, arguing that he delivered the “usual bluster and no plan for the months ahead”.

The Prime Minister used the remote speech to his party this afternoon to reiterate many of the promises already made but not yet delivered by government, including “levelling up” and fixing the “injustice of care home funding”.

He went on to promise that every home would be powered by offshore wind by 2030, and repeated his 2019 manifesto election pledge to encourage a new market in long-term fixed rate mortgages in an effort to “fix our broken housing market”.

Rishi Sunak made his own speech to the conference on Monday. Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds accused the Chancellor of having “nothing new to say” on how the UK will handle the Covid economic crisis.

Starmer called for an “urgent review into whether these local lockdowns are working in the way intended” last week as he highlighted that of the 48 areas that have seen additional restrictions, only one has seen those measures removed.

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