Andrew Marr told Labour’s new shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds that the opposition had been “too gentle” on the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He urged Mrs Dodds to launch a more scathing rebuke of the Government following reports that Boris Johnson missed five meetings of the emergency Cobra committee as the health crisis was looming. Marr also listed off a number of trade union leaders who had been more critical in their response to the Government.
The Government is facing criticism over its preparedness for the crisis, over testing, the timing of the lockdown and personal protective equipment.
Marr said: “This is a very difficult situation for an opposition, as it is for the Government but nonetheless you have been extremely cautious, extremely measured and careful in your use of language on the Labour front bench.
“Much more so than other parts of the Labour movement.
“The Unite Union described the Government’s litany of broken promises as shameful. The GMB said there has been gross ministerial incompetence.”
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He continued: “And Nick Forbs, one of the Labour leaders in local government, called the whole thing a national scandal.
“Is it possible that by endeavouring to be highly responsible you’ve slightly overdone it, you’re perhaps being too gentle on the Government?”
Mrs Dodds rejected the suggestions, insisting the team under Sir Keir Starmer had “been stating where mistakes are made” but looking forward she wanted “transparency” from the Government.
She reiterated: “We have been working with all of the bodies you have mentioned and of course with the TUC overall.
Another noted: “Marr shut down by Anneliese Dodds and Michael Gove on the negative Times stories this morning.
“Hopefully, a sign that both sides of politics concentrating on resolving this crisis together not promoting a negative narrative.”
However, several Labour supporters criticised Mrs Dodds for not taking the opportunity “to stick the boot into the Tories”.
One Labour voter said: “Annalies Dodds came across like a rather weak cup of tea.”
Another remarked: “So weak from Anneliese Dodds even Marr has picked up on it. Where is the opposition?”