politics

Labour demand high-profile review into Boris Johnson's coronavirus 'failures'


Labour is to demand that Boris Johnson holds a “lessons learned“ rapid review before another wave of coronavirus strikes.

Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Rachel Reeves says it must be set up on February 22, the same day as the Prime Minister unveils his road map to take Britain out of lockdown.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mirror, Ms Reeves said: “If we’d had one last summer we would not be in the terrible place we are today.”

Ms Reeves called for:

  • Industrial dust masks to be worn in shops and on public transport.
  • Half a million teachers to get the vaccination in the half-term holiday.
  • Key workers such as police, firefighters, transport and supermarket staff to get the jab in the next phase.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) has been slammed for his handling of the crisis

Ms Reeves backed calls by the Sunday Mirror last week for an independent inquiry to examine all Boris Johnson ’s errors.

She said: “The same mistakes are being made time and again.

“The PM was slow to lock down last March and then refused the circuit breaker we should have had in the autumn. He denies reality until it’s right up against him.

“The PM said ‘We did all we could’. But that’s more like an excuse than explanation. It also needs to examine the underlying reasons for the poorest parts of the country faring so much worse during this pandemic.”

She said FFP2 masks, which keep out 95 per cent of harmful germs, must be more available and given out free in pharmacies to low-income families.



Rachel Reeves is leading the call for the review

She added: “If we are to get kids back to school there has to be a plan. And I see no evidence of a plan.

“There’s no plan to vaccinate teachers and school staff. Protecting key workers keeps our society functioning.

“A bus driver cannot work from home and should get the vaccine a bit sooner.

“When the economy begins to reopen, people must feel safe in shops and on public transport.”

Ms Reeves said the review should look at support for the NHS, why there were PPE shortages, how mega contracts were handed to Tory cronies and the best ways to secure jobs.

She met bereaved families along with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer last week and added: “They not only want justice for their loved ones but to know lessons have been learned.”

Of the “vaccine war” between Britain and the EU, she said: “Vaccine nationalism serves no one well. My big worry is whether the vaccine will get to the poorer places in the world.

“Because if it doesn’t the virus will just mutate and come back at us.”

Ms Reeves, 41, also revealed she and her husband, ex-PM Gordon Brown’s former speech writer Nicholas Joicey, 50, fell ill with Covid this month.

She said: “Even when you’re getting better you think you might get worse again. And you worry about long Covid. But I feel fine now.”





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