WATCH: Keir Starmer slams government for “slow” Covid response

Keir Starmer has criticised the government for being “slow” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic and accused the Conservatives of failing to learn the lessons from the first wave of cases.

Responding to reports that the UK has now recorded more than 50,000 Covid deaths, the Labour leader said in a Sky News interview this evening that the families affected must be “uppermost in our mind”.

Starmer told viewers: “Behind these numbers is a devastated family for every death and they have to be uppermost in our mind. The government was slow at phase one, they haven’t learnt the lessons into phase two.

“And we owe it to all of the families who are grieving to get on top of the virus and head towards a vaccine. That is what the government must absolutely focus on now.

“My frustration is that had there been a circuit break earlier on, we would be out of that now. We’d have had a better chance of controlling the virus.”

The Labour leader argued during the latest Prime Minister Question’s session this afternoon that the British people are “paying the price” for mistakes that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have made in their handling of the crisis.

Starmer said: “If they’d handed contracts to companies that could deliver, public money would have been saved. If they’d extended furlough sooner, jobs would have been saved. If they’d brought in a circuit breaker, lives would have been saved.”

The comments from the Labour leader today come after official figures have reported that the UK has now recorded 50,365 deaths linked to coronavirus. Other data reports over 70,000 excess deaths up to the end of October.

The latest daily death toll was 595, with a latest daily number of 22,590 new cases. Total hospital admissions for the UK stand at 185,737 with a latest daily number of 1,518. There has been a significant increase recently with the second wave.

More from LabourList