Matt Hancock slaps down Jonathan Ashworth after Labour chief dubs Boris Johnson ‘crass’

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Jonathan Ashworth called for Boris Johnson to apologise for the comments he made regarding care homes yesterday. The Labour MP branded the Prime Minister’s comments as crass remarks. However, Mr Hancock hit back and fiercely defended the Conservative leader in the House of Commons.    

Mr Ashworth said: “The initial guidance from the Government downplayed the risk to care homes.

“Care providers were sent conflicting guidance throughout this outbreak. Staff could not access testing until mid-April and are still not tested routinely.

“PPE supplies have been inadequate, thousands of families have lost their loved ones in care homes to this disease, care workers themselves have died on the front line.

“Can he understand why people are so insulted by the PM’s remarks when he said too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures?

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“Can he appreciate the hurt that has led to care home providers today, for example, describing the comments as ‘clumsy and cowardly’, and can he tell us therefore which care homes didn’t follow procedures and what these procedures were that apparently were not followed and will he take this opportunity now to apologise for the PM’s crass remarks?”

Mr Hancock replied: “He also asked about care homes and throughout this crisis care homes have done amazing work.

“The Prime Minister was explaining that because asymptomatic transmission was not known about the procedures were therefore not known.

“We have constantly been learning about this virus from the start and improving procedures all the way through.

“I pay tribute to the care homes in this country that have done so much to care for the most vulnerable through this crisis.”

The Health Secretary also discussed the local lockdown situation in Leicester.

Mr Hancock said: “What we said when we took the measures just over a week ago is that we needed to see 14 days of data and so we proposed to make announcements on the next steps on the 18th July.

“Of course if further measures are needed in the meantime to tighten up then we would take them immediately, but as I said in my statement, the good news is that the data are currently moving in the right direction.”

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The UK was placed in lockdown in March to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed from the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

At the time of writing, Britain has the eighth-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world. 

The UK has more than 285,000 cases in total at the time of writing.

The death toll in Britain is currently over 44,000.

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