After the Mirror revealed more Number 10 parties, Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson is “literally in hiding” – and urged the Conservative party to do “what it needs to do and get rid of him”
Sacking Boris Johnson is ‘in the national interest’, Keir Starmer told Tory MPs today.
It comes after the Mirror revealed Mr Johnson had been aware of “wine time Fridays” – held every week in Number 10 throughout the pandemic.
Sources said the Prime Minister encouraged aides to “let off steam” despite indoor socialising being banned under lockdown rules.
The Labour leader said Mr Johnson had now lost the “moral authority” to lead the country.
A string of polls taken since more revelations about lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street put Labour ahead of the Tories by as many as 14 points.
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Speaking at the Fabian Society conference in Central London, Mr Starmer said: “What we’ve now got to is a situation where you have a Prime Minister who has lost the moral authority to lead.
“And just when you need, because we are not out of the pandemic, a Government that has that moral authority to lead, we’ve lost it with this Prime Minister.”
Mr Johnson is currently ‘limiting contact’ with other people after a family member tested positive for Covid-19, and is not expected to be seen in public until early next week.
He added: “The moral authority matters of course in relation to Covid, but we’ve got other massive challenges facing this country.
“We’ve got a Prime Minister who is absent – he is literally in hiding at the moment and unable to lead, so that’s why I’ve concluded that he has got to go.
“And of course there is a party vantage in him going but actually it is now in the national interest that he goes, so it is very important now that the Tory Party does what it needs to do and gets rid of him.”
Asked if he was confident that he and the Labour had behaved differently to Number 10, he said: “Yes, absolutely.”
He added: “When we collectively asked the nation to act in a particular way, it was very important that we act in the same way as the rest of the nation.”
Mr Starmer said he believed lives could have been saved by a “swifter” response at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Setting out his plan for NHS reform, he told the conference said: “As I speak to you this morning, 150,000 of our fellow citizens have lost their lives.
“I’m convinced that a swifter response by the Government could have reduced that number.”
Attacking the Conservative administration, the opposition leader said: “But while the Tories bicker and fight each other on Whatsapp, I want to look to the future because the NHS faces new challenges.
“We are an ageing population – that fact was brutally exposed by a virus that hit the oldest the hardest.
“We must devise new methods of care to help with long-term conditions, we need to think about mental as well as physical health and we need to think not just how we treat patients, but how we prevent them from falling ill in the first place.”