BBC’s Andrew Marr savaged Labour’s handling of the coronavirus, claiming that the party were to blame for some of the confused messaging around the lockdown. Speaking to Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, Marr pointed to the repeated efforts from both Mr Ashworth and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to push the government to outline their exit strategy. Andrew Marr scolded Mr Ashworth for refusing to accept part of the blame for the mixed messages over the lifting of the lockdown this week.
This week has been marked by a confused messaging on the lockdown exit strategy, ahead of Boris Johnson’s address to the nation tonight.
Newspaper headlines on Thursday heralded an end to the lockdown measures from Monday, but this was later disputed by cabinet ministers who suggested it would be an “extremely cautious” route out of the lockdown.
There are fears that leaving the lockdown measures too quickly could spark an even more dangerous second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The BBC’s Andrew Marr said that the repeated demands from Labour’s new shadow cabinet team for an exit strategy instigated the confusion this week.
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He said: “We always knew that getting out of the lockdown would be a difficult and complicated process.
“Labour has been calling again and again and again for a path out of the lockdown.
“So do you take some of the responsibility for the confusion at the moment?”
Mr Ashworth responded: “It isn’t unreasonable to ask what the government’s strategy is for the coming weeks.”
Mr Ashworth said that the Government should treat the public “like grown ups”.
He added that “this virus thrives on ambiguity, so we need clarity at all times”.
The Labour MP also criticised the new “stay alert” slogan which has replaced the “stay home” message.
He told Marr: “The problem with the slogan that’s been briefed to the newspapers is that people will be looking at it slightly puzzled, questioning: ‘what does it mean to stay alert?'”