'Boris Johnson is lying': Outrage as PM under fire over 'missing coronavirus data'

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
Boris Johnson has been labelled 'a liar' by Jess Phillips over his coronavirus data claims at PMQs. (Getty Images)
Boris Johnson has been labelled 'a liar' by Jess Phillips over his coronavirus data claims at PMQs. (Getty Images)

Labour frontbencher Jess Phillips has labelled Boris Johnson “a liar” over his coronavirus claims at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

Phillips, a member of the shadow cabinet, accused the PM of lying after he told Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer the government has shared accurate COVID-19 infection data with councils across the country.

Phillips said Johnson “makes my blood boil”.

It came after Johnson and Starmer clashed over the restrictions that were reimposed on Leicester earlier this week following a spike in cases.

The city’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said he had been trying “for weeks” to access infection data, but that the town hall only got hold of it on Thursday last week (25 June).

With health secretary Matt Hancock having said on 18 June there was an outbreak in Leicester, Starmer said this was a “lost week” while the virus was spreading across the East Midlands city.

Johnson, however, said Starmer was “mistaken”.

“Both pillar 1 and pillar 2 data have been shared not just with Leicester but with all authorities across the country,” he said.

“We did in Leicester exactly what we did in Kirklees, Bradford, Weston-super-Mare or other places where very effective whack-a-mole strategies have been put in place [to deal with outbreaks].”

He insisted: “The government has acted.”

Responding to his claims on Twitter, Phillips wrote:

She later added:

Starmer said Leicester only had data for pillar 1 COVID-19 tests, which account for NHS and care workers, as well as tests in hospitals.

However, the council didn’t have pillar 2 test data, which accounts for infections in the wider community, until Thursday last week.

It meant official government figures showed there were only 80 positive tests in the city in the fortnight up to 26 June, when the real figure was actually 944.

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