Jon Ashworth stunned BBC Breakfast viewers after complaining about the way the Government has handled the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that the situation would have been better handled if he was in control. The astonishing attack from the Labour shadow health minister alarmed both BBC’s Naga Munchetty and viewers, who accused the MP of trying to “undermine the current Government”. In his interview, he criticised the Government for a botched approach to testing and appeared to take credit for the initial lockdown going into effect.
He continued: “I mean yesterday the Junior Health Minister was saying that we shouldn’t be asking about an exit strategy because there is no exit strategy until we get a vaccine.
“Well, that could be 18 months away so if the Government is going to keep us in lockdown for 18 months they probably need to tell us.
“We are not trying to score points. We are not trying to undermine the Government, but provide scrutiny and ask questions that will help the country and improve their decisions.”
Viewers took to Twitter to condemn the MP’s response, suggesting he was “playing politics” and “sneering” at a Government in the middle of a crisis.
They tweeted: “Trying to score silly points off our elected government during a global pandemic. When this is over the public will remember you and you will be in opposition for the next 12 years.”
Later in the interview, Munchetty pointed out that Mr Ashworth’s claims that Labour could have done more were baseless because “they didn’t have a leader” at the time.
She said: “You say you would have got involved if you were in government but you didn’t have a leader until Sir Keir Starmer was announced.
“You didn’t have one central voice to challenge the government, to hear government and to put a voice in government. You weren’t there.”