Labour’s Jon Ashworth was left squirming after his criticism of the Government was picked apart live on-air. The shadow health secretary tried to attack the Government’s coronavirus pandemic response, but was shot down by BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty as well as viewers online. He urged the Government to invest in a contact-tracing app – before Munchetty reminded him that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had already put those plans in place.
Viewers online criticised Mr Ashworth for “political point-scoring” during a time of national crisis.
Munchetty asked: “When you talk about your testing strategy, what is different about your strategy that you and Labour would have put in place if it was in power, compared to the test, track and trace strategy of the Government?”
Mr Ashworth responded: “We actually did testing tracing, and isolating but then we abandoned it because of a lack of capacity.
“They say will recruit 18,000 tracing staff, which we welcome but we have called for tracing for weeks now.”
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He continued: “When we went into lockdown, we said we were pleased by that decision but its a blunt tool unless you have a contract tracing and testing strategy in place.
“It’s taken a month for the government to get ready for that. While we’re in this lockdown, lockdown is not a strategy in itself, but it buys us time.
“Let’s recruit those people to carry out tests, let’s also invest in digital apps like other countries have.”
Munchetty fired back: “But isn’t that what this proposed app is doing? That’s being put in place.
One person asked: “Why are you constantly trying to undermine and criticise the Government?”
It was also noted: “There is a reason why Labour are struggling in the polls. Sleazy politics and gutter based attempts at point scoring disgusts the public.”
This comes as a total of 19,506 patients had died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, up by 768 from 18,738 the day before.
The figure is up on the previous day when 616 people were confirmed to have died but a further 84 were added later in the day due to a delay in reporting from one Welsh health trust.