Keir Starmer has slammed Boris Johnson as “too weak to lead” after the prime minister suffered the worst rebellion of his premiership over key Covid measures.
The Labour leader branded Johnson the “worst possible prime minister at the worst possible time” following a bruising mutiny in the Commons on Tuesday night that saw 99 of his own MP vote against him on Covid passports.
In a heated session of prime minister’s questions, Starmer said Johnson’s leadership was “so weak” that he had to rely on Labour votes to get his so-called Plan B measures through parliament.
He told MPs: “The British public are looking for a prime minister with the trust and the authority to lead Britain through the crisis.
“Instead we’re burdened with the worst possible prime minister at the worst possible time.
“We can’t go on with a prime minister who is too weak to lead.
“So will the prime minister take time this Christmas to look in the mirror and ask himself whether he has the trust and authority to lead this country?”
Johnson was hit by the largest rebellion since he became prime minister on Tuesday night, when Tory MPs opposed his so-called Plan B measures to tackle the new wave of the Omicron variant sweeping through the UK.
The package of measures include mandatory mask wearing in most indoor spaces, compulsory vaccines for NHS workers, working from home guidance and the use of Covid passports to enter some large venues.
It was Covid passports — whereby people have to be double-jabbed or have proof of a negative lateral flow test to enter large venues — that most of the Tory rebels objected to, although it was not enough to derail Plan B altogether.
The revolt topped off a torrid week for the prime minister following the drip of allegations of numerous Christmas parties in Downing Street in an apparent breach of last year’s lockdown rules.
Starmer said Tory MPs were wrong to vote agains the Covid health measures but asked Johnson: “Does the prime minister understand why his own MPs no longer trust him?”
Johnson hit back: “He comes to this House pompously claiming that he wants to rise above party politics and support the efforts of the nation in delivering the vaccine rollout, and then he talks endlessly about party politics and plays political games.
“I think what the people of this country can see, is that as a result of what this government has done with the decisions we’ve taken... to deliver the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe and now the fastest booster rollout and we now have the fastest growing economy in the G7 and more jobs today – 500,000 more jobs today – than there were when the pandemic began.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.