Peter Kyle, the Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, said he sent a letter to Johnson and Matt Hancock seven weeks ago warning them of the impending crisis.
In it, he said:
“To illustrate the point, most of the seven workers from Oaklands that took ill were agency staff who also work in other care homes.
“Another care home in Hove now has four confirmed Covid-19 cases and that number is only so because tests are being rationed to five per care home – more are symptomatic.
“Prime minister I cannot stress this strongly enough: Our system of social care, dependant as it is on temporary and agency staff, is responsible for spreading contagion.
“There is only one way to stop this in its tracks and that is to allow only workers who have tested negative inside care homes.
“No other system can allow residents and those who care for them to sleep at night safe in the knowledge that we are doing everything possible to keep them safe.”
Yesterday Sir Keir Starmer asked the PM if the government was too slow to protect those in care homes during Prime Minister’s Questions.
“Mr Speaker, in a speech on Sunday, the prime minister said that we need to rapidly reverse the awful epidemic in our care homes. But earlier this year and until the 12 March the government’s own official advice was, and I’m quoting from it, ‘it remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected.’
“Yesterday’s ONS figures show that at least 40 per cent of all deaths from Covid-19 were in care homes. Does the prime minister accept that the government was too slow to protect people in care homes?”
In response Johnson said:
“No, Mr Speaker and it wasn’t true that the advice said that and actually, we brought the lockdown in care homes ahead of the general lockdown and what we’ve seen is a concerted action plan to tackle what is unquestionably an appalling epidemic.”
Unfortunately for the prime minister, this is exactly what the guidance said. Here is the webpage to prove it.
Starmer later wrote to the PM, reminding him that “at a time of national crisis, it is more important than ever that Government ministers are accurate in the information they give.”
Johnson hit back telling Starmer that it isn’t “constructive” to point out when he is wrong and that he should in fact be working with the government in the face of an unprecedented pandemic.