Tuesday 10 December 2019 8:00 am

Election 2019: Justice secretary defends PM over sick child row

The justice secretary has defended Boris Johnson over his reaction to a photograph of a four-year old boy with suspected pneumonia, who was forced to sleep on the floor of a hospital.

Yesterday the Prime Minister repeatedly failed to acknowledge the plight of Jack Williment-Barr, who was pictured sleeping on the floor of Leeds General Infirmary, at one point even pocketing the phone of a journalist who was trying to show him a picture of the boy.

This morning Robert Buckland told the BBC: “Politics and general elections, despite the best efforts of political parties, can be unpredictable, and that particularly story was one of those occasions where everybody was dealing with a very difficult situation.”

General Elections ought to be fought “on the high ground, the big issues” rather than “who said what to who”, Buckland insisted.

Of taking the journalist’s phone, he added:  “I think that in all the hundreds of interviews that the Prime Minister has done or indeed a lot of us have done, there will come moments where you’re suddenly sprung with something and it is difficult to know what it is.”

The Conservatives came under fire yesterday, for apparently trying to deflect the heat by claiming health secretary Matt Hancock’s special adviser had been punched by a Labour activist during an altercation at the hospital in West Yorkshire.

Video footage later emerged showing the incident was benign, and that no punches were thrown.

However Buckland defended the party for its mis- briefing, saying it was “a very confusing scene of public disorder”.

Main image: Getty