Boris Johnson insists it is ‘not the time’ to learn the lessons from the pandemic

Boris Johnson has insisted “now is not the time” to reflect on the lessons from his handling of the pandemic.

The Prime Minister claimed the public wanted the UK Government to focus on dealing with the crisis now when challenged by Sir Keir Starmer after the UK passed 100,000 deaths to have the worst death rate in Europe.

The exchange came during a Prime Minister’s Questions that saw Mr Johnson once again accuse the Labour leader of “scoring political points” in his criticism of his approach.

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Sir Keir said: “Yesterday we passed the tragic milestone of 100,000 Covid deaths in the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson has insisted “now is not the time” to reflect on the lessons from his handling of the pandemic.

“That is not just a statistic, behind every death is a grieving family – a mum, a dad, a sister, a brother, a friend, a colleague, a neighbour.

“The question on everyone’s lips this morning is why?

“The Prime Minister must have thought about that question a lot, so could he tell us why he thinks that the United Kingdom has ended up with a death toll of 100,000, the highest number in Europe?”

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The PM replied: “Like [Sir Keir], I mourn every death in this pandemic and we share the grief of all those who have been bereaved.

“And let him be in no doubt and let the House be in no doubt that I and the Government take full responsibility for all the actions that I have taken and that we have taken during this pandemic to fight this disease.”

Mr Johnson said “there will indeed be a time when we must learn the lessons of what has happened”, but insisted that was not now.

He said: “I don’t think that moment is now when we are in the throes of fighting this wave of the new variant, when 37,000 people are struggling with Covid in our hospitals.”

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed Mr Johnson’s response was “defined by a lack of leadership, last-minute U-turns, mixed messaging and devastating policies”.

He said: “When we called on the Prime Minister to introduce tough border controls last spring, he refused.

"When we told the Prime Minister it was a mistake to end lockdown prematurely and push millions of workers back to the office, he ignored us.”

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