It is often assumed that Johnson promised a system “that beats the world” in an improvised response to PMQs, but in fact he first used the phrase in his Sunday night televised address to the nation on May 10. He said:
If we are to control this virus, we must have a world famous system to test potential victims and to trace their contacts. So all in all, we are literally testing hundreds of thousands of people every day.
Ten days later at PMQ, when Sir Keir Starmer said he would settle for one that was simply ‘effective’, Johnson repeated the promise with an extension, telling MPs: ‘We will have a test operation. , tracking and trace that will be global. -beating, and yes, it will be in place by June 1st. ”
That didn’t quite materialize, and this morning the consequences were made clear when a teachers’ union said the unavailability of tests could lead to a ‘default lockdown’. Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), told the Today program that principals were forced to decide that “the bubble must stay at home” if a student or teacher in a age group had shown Covid-19 symptoms and was unable to pass a test to prove they were negative. He continued:
I think it looks like a default lock – it will be more frustrating for parents because you can’t predict if it’s going to happen. And similarly from the principal’s point of view, if my grade 4 teacher is showing symptoms today, will he be in school tomorrow, will he be here for the next 14 days? As soon as you start getting that with six, seven, eight teachers, it becomes unbearable to be able to handle things.
Barton also quoted a senior professor who emailed him overnight to tell him they felt “cheated” by the government. Barton summarized the message from the head in the email as follows:
I think everything we put in place – the one-way systems, the bubbles and all that, we did – but now we’ve stumbled upon the fact that whether it’s a kid or a staff member , they can’t take a test and that leaves us in a position where I don’t know if I can teach some of these lessons tomorrow, or even for the next two weeks. It’s maddening.
Here is the agenda for the day.
10h: Brandon Lewis, the Secretary for Northern Ireland, testifies at the Northern Ireland Commons Committee on the Northern Ireland Protocol and the Home Market Bill that would empower ministers to override it.
10h: Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, testifies before the Commons Education Committee.
12h: Boris Johnson faces Angela Rayner, the deputy Labor leader, in PMQ. Sir Keir Starmer is home self-isolating.
12h15: The Scottish government is expected to hold its daily coronavirus briefing.
13h30: Downing Street tient son briefing de lobby.
3.30 p.m .: Johnson testifies at the Commons Liaison Committee.
And at some point today, the government is releasing its white paper on sentencing. Jamie Grierson and Owen Bowcott have a glimpse of what’s going to be here.
Politics Live has become the UK coronavirus live blog for quite some time, and given how the Covid crisis overshadows everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we’ll also cover non-Covid political stories, like Brexit, and where they seem more important and interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our live blog on the global coronavirus.
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