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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer squirmed as Boris Johnson reiterated the sentiment in Commons during PMQs. Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green has said during the party’s online conference that Labour should “not let a good crisis go to waste”. The Prime Minister accused Sir Keir or trying to gain political capital through the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: “These are indeed tough times and I have no doubt that many businesses and employees are feeling a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty.
“We will do our best to protect them throughout this period.
“But we will get through this with precisely the methods we have outlined and were agreed upon in this house yesterday.
“The reality of the Opposition position has been exposed, the cat’s out the bag because it was his shadow education secretary who said of the present crisis, ‘don’t let a good crisis go to waste’.
“That’s the real approach of the Labour party; seeking to create political opportunity out of a crisis.
“Out of the difficulties and dangers this country is going through while we are making the tough decisions.”
Sir Keir had asked why business support was not announced at the same time as greater Covid-19 restrictions on Tuesday.
Mr Johnson replied: “Let’s be in absolutely no doubt that the work that this Government has done to protect the economy of this country, to support the jobs of 12 million people through the furlough scheme, enabled expenditure of about £160 billion has been unexampled anywhere else in the world.
“And I think he should pay tribute to the Chancellor and his work and we will go forward with further creative and imaginative schemes to keep our economy moving.”
NP Westminster leader Ian Blackford also urged Mr Johnson to “show the leadership required” and announce an extension of the furlough scheme.
He told the Commons: “Our First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) has shown leadership on all fronts during this pandemic. However, the responsibility and power for extending the furlough scheme lie with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.
“The Prime Minister must announce an immediate extension, no half-measures, no half-baked projects, to this vital and life-saving scheme. Will the Prime Minister show the leadership required and save the jobs?”
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Mr Johnson responded: “I notice that both now support an indefinite extension of the furlough scheme… that’s what he said.
“What we will do, as I’ve said throughout, is continue to put our arms around the people of this country going through a very tough time and come up with the appropriate, creative and imaginative schemes to keep them in work and keep the economy moving.”
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