Sir Keir Starmer today refused three times to say if it’s safe for kids to go back to school.
In a fiery PMQs, the Labour leader repeatedly failed to answer the question when asked by a furious Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister had demanded Sir Keir ask the question in response to being challenged on child poverty.
He said: “We intend to make sure that we minimise the impact of the coronavirus on the poorest kids in this country.
“One of the best ways we can do that Mr Speaker is to encourage kids who can go back to school go back to school now because their schools are safe.
“Last week I asked him whether he would say schools are publically safe to go to and he hummed and he hawed, now is his time to say it clearly, schools are safe to go back to.”
Sir Keir refused to say it was safe, despite being asked two more times.
The PM blasted: “The unions won’t let him say the truth, a great ox has stood on his tongue.”
It came as hardline union bosses squared up for another clash with No10 as they warned schools may stay closed to millions beyond September.
Tory MP and education select committee boss Robert Halfon demanded to know why millions of kids can “shop at Primark” while unions opposed their return to the classroom.
Moaning Mary Bousted said schools “cannot” fully reopen if social distancing rules are still in place after the summer holidays.
Struggling parents could be stuck at home trying to juggle work with teaching their kids for many more months, she suggested.
Her explosive comments enraged ministers and MPs, who accused the National Education Union of waging war on schools reopening.
Asked if schools should fully reopen in September, Ms Bousted told MPs: “If the government retains its social distancing rules then they can’t.”
The union chief said England should prepare for “blended learning” – or home schooling – to be around long term.
And she demanded ministers recruit more teachers and set up pop up schools in other public buildings to get more classroom space.
She told the education select committee: “We have to look at an education recovery plan which I focused on more than school buildings.
“Increasing the physical footprint of the school, increasing the numbers of teachers available to teach smaller classes, and a national plan for blended learning.”
Her gloomy outlook comes just days after her union demanded a “can do” attitude to get kids back to class.
Ms Bousted was hammered by MPs for launching an all-out attack to keep schools closed.
Ex teacher turned Tory MP John Gullis fumed: “I have never been so frustrated in my entire life sitting in this committee and what’s been said.”
He added: “The NEU, running a political campaign, which came through our, all MP inboxes to make sure schools did not open I just think is utterly disgraceful.
“What support is not being given to kids that could have been given? I am outraged at the sheer damage that unions have done to the teaching professions.”
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