Theresa May has lashed out at Boris Johnson, accusing him of choosing data to fit his coronavirus policies and urging the Government to reveal the true economic cost of England’s impending second lockdown.
To the chagrin of MPs, Johnson speedily walked out of the chamber just as May took to her feet to tear into her successor’s policies – though sources close to the prime minister deny that his departure was a personal slight.
Speaking as MPs considered regulations for a second lockdown, May said: “This pandemic has challenged governments across the world and ministers have been under relentless pressure in dealing with this issue.
“But, just as ministers are making tough decisions, so are Parliament, and Parliament will make better decisions if it is fully and properly informed.”
‘Prediction was wrong’
May criticised Labour’s circuit-breaker proposal, claiming it could have ended up being repeated “again and again and again”.
She said: “It appears the decision to go towards this lockdown was partly, mainly, to some extent based on the prediction of 4,000 deaths a day.
“Yet, if you look at the trajectory showing in that graph that went to 4,000 deaths a day, we would have reached 1,000 deaths a day by the end of October.
“The average in the last week of October was 259, by my calculations. Each of those deaths is a sadness and our thoughts are with the families, but it’s not 1,000 deaths a day.
“So the prediction was wrong before it was even used. And this leads to a problem for the Government – for many people it looks as if the figures are chosen to support the policy rather than the policy being based on the figures.
“We need these proper analyses. We need to know the details behind these models. We need to be able to assess the validity of those models.”
May told MPs: “Jobs lost, livelihoods shattered, businesses failing, whole sectors damaged. What sort of airline industry are we going to have coming out of this? What sort of hospitality sector? What sort of small independent shops will be left?
“The Government must have made this analysis, made this assessment – let us see it and make our own judgments.”
Labour MP Ruth Cadbury labelled Johnson “childish” after he walked out on his predecessor.
Others have been similarly unimpressed with his antics.