The Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, Graham Stringer, took to Talk Radio to commend Boris Johnson’s decision to lift all the Covid-19 restrictions currently in place.
In an interview with host, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Stringer stated: “I don’t trust the Prime Minister’s motives. But while I don’t trust his motives, I think the solution that’s come out is the right one. We have to learn to live with this disease”.
Stringer suggested that Johnson’s decision was made to draw media attention off him and his party following the recent ‘partygate’ scandal, but agreed it was time for restrictions to end.
Stringer’s position is opposed to that of the Labour front bench, who are suggesting more evidence will be needed before making a decision to remove restrictions.
Listen to the interview here…
All Covid restrictions will end in England on Thursday and free mass testing will stop from 1 April.
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) February 22, 2022
Stringer continued: “The scientific evidence is there… All the numbers are down. What we should’ve been asking for are the detailed numbers of people who have died of covid and absolutely nothing else.
Figures have been distorted all the way through by people who have gone into hospital, got infected but were going to die anyway.”
“We’ve damaged children by insisting on testing and vaccinating them when there’s not an iota of evidence that it does the community any good.”
In contrast, MP for Worsley and Eccles South, Barbara Keeley (Labour) disagreed with the Government, pressing PM yesterday on his sudden removal of free testing. She asked:
“In a recent survey, the majority of NHS officials agree it is not the right time to end free testing for the public. Can the Prime Minister tell me why he disagrees with those NHS leaders? And what scientific advice has he considered to come to this decision which could have a real impact on the NHS elective recovery plan?”
My Q to the Prime Minister on his decision to end free testing on 1 April.
80% of NHS leaders think the public should continue to have access to free COVID tests according to a survey by @NHSConfed.
The PM could not tell me on what scientific evidence he made this decision. pic.twitter.com/tOzPY9sasM
— Barbara Keeley 💙 😷 (@KeeleyMP) February 21, 2022
The PM replied: “I hear the anxieties of people, but I have to say I think this is balanced and the right decision.”
He added: “But I have to remind her of what her benches have previously said on the cost of testing. We now think, given the severity of Omicron, the best thing to do is focus on surveillance. And to use the huge fund were currently dedicating to mass testing on electives and all the other things we need to do.”
The PM failed to elaborate on the scientific advice that was used to justify this change in policy. Since the highly infectious Delta and Omicron waves hit the UK, Johnson has promised to “follow the science” when implementing or removing restrictions. Such words have prompted opposition members, like Keeley, to question the Government’s motives.
In yesterday’s press briefing to the nation, Johnson stated: “We must chart a course back to normality as quickly as possible”.