Boris Johnson accused the leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, of attacking the role the private sector played during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister insisted the contribution of private businesses played a pivotal part in ensuring the UK could quickly respond to the challenges the coronavirus pandemic created. Addressing Sir Keir during PMQs, Mr Johnson said: “Any details conflict if interest will be evident in the publication of all the evidence, of all the details, of all the contracts.
“Again, he seems to be attacking the Government for shifting heaven and earth as we did to get the medicines, to get the PPE, to get the equipment, to get the treatments that this country needed.
“What it reveals, really, is a deep underlying Labour hatred of the public sector.
“It’s actually thanks to the private sector, and the Government working with the private sector that the UK was able to produce the world’s first usable treatment for the disease, has worked hard to procure a large number of doses of the first usable room-temperature vaccine.”
The Prime Minister continued: “That’s the private sector working to deliver for the people of this county.
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“And it’s common-sense, Conservative Government working with the private sector rather than abominating them rather than relying on abominable state control.
“How else does he think we could possibly have done?”
Sir Keir insisted Labour had no qualms with the private sector but took issue with the Government wasting taxpayers’ money for programmes “that don’t deliver.”
He said: “No one is knocking the private sector. The Government is knocking taxpayers, and that’s not trivial.
“It’s a clean sweep – bullying, harassment, leaking, wasting public money and obvious conflicts of interests.
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“It’s the same old story, one rule for the British public, another for the Prime Minister and his friends.
“Just look at the contrast between spraying public money at contracts that don’t deliver and his attitude towards pay rises for key workers who kept the country going during this pandemic.”
Sir Keir spent this week’s PMQs questioning the Government’s conduct throughout the pandemic and took particular issue with the decision of the Prime Minister to back Home Secretary Priti Patel despite a report finding the frontbencher to have broken the ministerial code of conduct.
Mr Johnson once again renewed his support for Ms Patel and thanked her for her “steely commitment” to delivering the people’s priorities.
The Prime Minister said: “The Home Secretary has apologised for any way her conduct fell short.
“I make no apology for sticking up, for standing by a Home Secretary who is getting on with delivering the people’s priorities.
“Putting already 6,000 of the 20,000 more police officers on the street fighting crime, instituting a new Australian-style immigration system.
“She’s getting on with delivering what I think the people of this country wants, she’s got a steely determination. And that’s why his side continues to bash her.”