Boris Johnson accused of misleading the House of Commons on care homes
Boris Johnson has been accused of misleading parliament after being asked about the government’s coronavirus guidance on care homes.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked the Prime Minister today why the government’s advice up to 12 March was that it was unlikely that care home residents would be infected with coronavirus.
Johnson denied this was ever the case, despite an official document from 12 February saying “it is therefore very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home or the community will ever become infected”.
Academics from the London School of Economics (LSE) today published data to show more than 22,000 people care homes may have died from Covid-19.
The official number from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) is 8,314.
Starmer sent a letter to Johnson immediately after Prime Minister’s Questions to ask him to “correct the record” on his statement.
“I expect you to come to the House of Commons at the earliest opportunity to correct the record and to recognise that this was official government guidance regarding care homes,” he wrote.
Johnson fired back with a letter of his own, claiming he was “disappointed” that Starmer “chose to quote Public Health England advice selectively and misleadingly”.
He pointed out that the PHE advice was written when there was no community transmission of Covid-19 in Britain.
A Downing Street spokesperson also denied Johnson had lied and said he would not be offering a retraction.
“What’s happened is that the leader of the opposition has inaccurately and selectively quoted from the PHE (Public Health England) guidance and that is what the Prime Minister was referring to.”