New Labour boss Keir Starmer grills Dominic Raab for being ‘too slow’ on lockdown, PPE and testing in his first PMQs  


LABOUR’S new boss Sir Keir Starmer blasted Dominic Raab for being “too slow” on lockdown, PPE and testing today – as they held the first “virtual” PMQs.

The First Secretary of State went up against Sir Keir for the first time – since the House of Commons came back from the Easter recess yesterday.

It’s Keir Starmer’s first outing since he became Labour boss
Dominic Raab is standing in for Boris Johnson at today’s PMQs

The new Labour boss blasted the Government over their failure to use all the testing capacity available to see whether people have coronavirus, and for being “too slow” at every occasion.

“We were slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on protective equipment,” he said.

“And now we are slow to take up these offers from British firms (for more help).”

And he skewered the Government over why they are only testing half the numbers of people every day that they have the capacity for.

Yesterday less than 20,000 were carried out, but there’s space for nearly 40,000.

“Why isn’t the government using the tests available every day?” Sir Keir said on his first experience at the despatch box since taking over from Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour MPs came out to praise him for a sharp first performance.

He pointed out that thousands of workers are having to drive huge distances just to reach their drive though tests, and expressed doubt on whether the Government’s own target of 100,000 a day can be reached in time.

But Mr Raab insisted that they were still on track to get there by the end of the month.

And he attacked Labour’s Government in Wales for abandoning their target to get to 5,000 a day.

In a bid to keep Britain running, only some MPs were in the Chamber today – and were forced to sit far apart to stop spreading the virus.

But the rest were able to log in online to stop them breaching social distancing rules.

MPs today dialed in to the PMQs – but there were some in the Chamber

It comes as fat cat peers are under growing pressure to waive or donate their £323 daily expenses during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Lords will conduct most of their business over video from the comfort of their own homes.

This has sparked furious demands for them to be temporarily stripped of the bumper expenses they usually pocket.

House of Lords Speaker Lord Fowler said there is a “strong argument” peers should not be paid if they are only watching proceedings from home.

But he suggested peers who are asking questions and involved in the debates should still get paid.

Quizzed on whether peers should be paid on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, he said: “Well I think that’s a pretty strong argument, isn’t it.

“As I say, I don’t want to preclude any discussions. I’m not thinking in terms that we should make a payment to people taking my advice and sitting at home and simply watching proceedings.”