Boris Johnson has apologized “wholeheartedly” to the Prime Minister’s questions for the leaked footage of his assistants joking about a lockdown Christmas rally.
The Tory Party leader was in the spotlight after Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer called on Mr Johnson to ‘be honest and apologize’ if the allegations about the December 18 rally of the last year are true.
The Prime Minister’s questions come amid reports that the government is set to implement the so-called ‘plan B’ of further restrictions to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
The Financial Times said three senior Whitehall officials briefed the newspaper on the decision.
We’ll bring you live updates, including PMQs, below.
15 minutes of waiting after the jabs “under examination”, according to the PM
Boris Johnson said the 15-minute wait for people to be observed after reviewing their Pfizer booster shots is under review.
Conservative MP Dr Luke Evans (Bosworth) told the House of Commons: “Speaking to fellow clinicians, one of the biggest hurdles is the 15 minutes people have to wait after Pfizer.
“If we could reduce or eliminate that, it would free up thousands of hours of clinicians’ time.
“So will the Prime Minister ask the MHRA and JCVI to see if it is safe to do so, especially for people receiving their third Pfizer booster?” “
Mr Johnson replied: ‘He makes a very good point and I can tell him that we are in the process of reviewing the 15 minute wait requirement for the two booster doses, and we continue to be guided by the JCVI and the MHRA. “
Third dose of Pfizer jab can neutralize Omicron
A third dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine can neutralize the Omicron variant, the vaccine maker said.
In their first statement on the effectiveness of jab against the new strain, Pfizer said the third dose increased neutralizing antibodies 25-fold.
However, a two-dose regimen was forty percent less effective against the variant, the company said.
It comes amid reports that ministers will give the green light to Plan B, which will involve work from home and vaccine passports.
“Ensuring that as many people as possible are fully immunized with the first two sets of doses and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Pfizer boss Albert Bourla.
Questions asked about a possible press briefing this afternoon
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting asked the President if he had been informed that there would be a statement in the Commons on the coronavirus restrictions this afternoon.
It comes after speculation that a media briefing could take place later Wednesday, amid speculation England could switch to Plan B.
In response, President Lindsay Hoyle warned the government not to hold a media availability on any new restrictions until the House of Commons is informed.
“Let us not take this House for granted,” he said.
Sir Lindsay said he would consider whether it would be possible to allow an urgent matter to compel the government to go to the House of Commons and explain the reported changes to the Covid rules.
Omicron spreads much faster, go get your booster – PM
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to get their booster shot as soon as they are eligible.
He told MPs that “the Omicron variant is spreading much faster, which is what we must focus on with great respect.”
He added, “Go get your recall shot as soon as you’re called forward. “
It comes amid widespread speculation that Plan B coronavirus measures, including working from home and the reintroduction of passports for vaccines, could be introduced as early as next week.
Shadow minister questions how PM sleeps at night
Shadow Minister of Health and NHS frontline worker Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said the alleged Downing Street Christmas party was ‘an insult to anyone who has not been allowed to say goodbye’ .
“My question is very simple: how does the Prime Minister sleep at night?
Boris Johnson said he shared and understood the frustration.
PM: no decision concerning plan B will be taken “without consulting the Cabinet”
The Prime Minister was asked by Tory MP William Wragg about widespread speculation that measures against Plan B coronaviruses could be introduced as early as this week.
He told Boris Johnson that “few people will be fooled by this diversionary tactic”.
The Prime Minister did not deny that Plan B measures were being considered and replied: “No decision will be taken without consulting the Cabinet”.
Boris Johnson asked about Cummings’ ‘flat party’ claim
Labor MP Catherine West asked the Prime Minister “to tell the House if there was a party at No 10 on November 13”.
It comes after the Prime Minister’s former senior aide Dominic Cummings tweeted during PMQs alleging that a ‘flat party’ had occurred at number 10 on that date.
Boris Johnson insisted that nothing happened on November 13.
But he then added that “whatever happens, I’m sure the rules have been followed.”
Dominic Cummings tweeted during PMQ
Boris Johnson’s former special adviser Dominic Cummings tweeted during PMQs.
He said: “Will CABSEC also be asked to investigate the * apartment * party on Friday November 13, the other apartment parties and the apartment’s ‘bubble’ policy…? “
SNP’s Ian Blackford calls for PM’s resignation
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has called for Boris Johnson’s resignation.
He told the Commons: “We are on the cliff edge of another difficult time in this pandemic. Tough decisions will have to be made to save lives. “
“Confidence in leadership is a matter of life and death. “
He continued: “Downing Street willfully broke the rules and laughed at the sacrifices we all made.
“The Prime Minister is responsible for the loss of the confidence of the people. He can no longer lead the most pressing problem facing these islands.
He called on Boris Johnson to step down, saying ‘when can we expect that? “
Mr Johnson responded by accusing the opposition parties of “playing politics” and saying: “I will continue my work”.
Starmer: Even “Ant and Dec are ahead of the Prime Minister on this!” “
Sir Keir Starmer slammed the Prime Minister when he discovered leaked footage showing his assistants laughing at an alleged Christmas party.
The Prime Minister told MPs that “people should not lose sight of what we are trying to do now” and discussed the importance of the vaccination rollout.
He said the new Omicron variant “is spreading much faster than we’ve seen before”.