Blog: PMQs: Boris Johnson faces questions from Keir Starmer – politics live – The Guardian


Emma Lewell-Buck (Lab) says her local hospital if facing cuts. Will the PM intervene to help?

Johnson says the changes referred to be Lewell-Buck are being consulted on. He says the plans are about improving services, not downgrading anything.


Claire Coutinho (Con) asks if the PM will consider the powers available to the traffic commissioner to consider the impact of HGV lorries.

Johnson says he will look at this.


Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru) says Brexit has been a tale of betrayals. Will the steel industry be next to be betrayed?

Johnson says no. He says Brexit offers opportunities for Welsh farmers to export. They will be able to do brilliantly, he says.


Ian Lavery (Lab) says the north-east of England has suffered particularly badly in terms of lost learning for pupils. The government’s catch-up plans are “derisory”, he says. Parents are listening; will the PM use his privileged education background to explain how 20p a day helps kids catch up?

Johnson says Lavery is wrong; the sums are huge, he says. He repeats the point about the tuition programme being the biggest in the world.


Sir David Amess (Con) says the hurt felt by women who had to give up children for adoption in the 50s, 60s and 70s is still felt today. Does the PM agree they deserve an apology?

Johnson agrees. He says the practices that led to forced adoption cannot now occur. He says the agencies involved in forced adoption in the past “have apologise for their role, and quite right too”.



Andrew Gwynne (Lab) says the PM has seen his ministerial standards adviser resign, his top legal adviser resign, and his education recovery adviser resign. Why does this keep happening?

Johnson says he is grateful to everyone who has worked for him.


David Jones (Con) says Lord Frost is doing a superb job. Does the PM agree that the Northern Ireland protocol is unsustainable as currently applied? Should the EU adopt a more pragmatic approach?

Johnson says he agrees completely. He says Frost is the greatest Frost since the Great Frost of 1709.


Brendan Clarke-Smith (Con) asks when councils can take back control over trespassing.

Johnson says the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill contains measures to address this. He says Labour voted against it.


Barry Sheerman (Lab) asks when levelling up will start. He says the PM has led a life of privilege. How will the government know it is succeeding? When will we see the evidence of this?

Johnson says the government has a £640bn investment programme that, bit by bit, will transform people’s opportunity. He says his government believes talent is fairly distributed, but not opportunity. That is the difference with Labour, he claims.


Colum Eastwood, the SDLP leader, asks why the PM is prioritising a deal that will benefit Australian farmers instead of agreeing to align food standards with the EU’s, which would help trade with Northern Ireland.

Johnson says he wants to protect the economic and territorial integrity of the UK.


Scott Benton (Con) asks the PM to ensure there is a wider plan to ensure no child loses out as a result of the pandemic.

Johnson says the tutoring plan is evidence-based. And the government may increase time spend in schools. He says Labour should use their influence with teaching unions to get teachers to agree.


Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, says the PM will be the only leader at the G7 summit cutting aid to the poorest. He says the PM has been hiding on this issue for months. This is an government on the run, he says. Will the PM commit to a vote on the aid cuts, as demanded by the Speaker? Yes or no?

Johnson says we are in very, very difficult financial times. He says Blackford should not believe “lefty propaganda”. The UK is spending £10bn on aid, he says. And £500m is being spent on girls’ education.

Blackford says he has never heard Theresa May (who opposes the aid cuts) described as a leftist propagandist. He says now is the time to support one another. The PM is slashing £4.5bn from the world’s poorest.

Johnson says that question was disgraceful. He says the government has contributed £1.6bn to the Gavi vaccination programme. And he repeats the point about one in three vaccines being AZ ones.


Felicity Buchan (Con) asks if the government will build back better in a way that works for the whole country. Johnson says he will.


Starmer says this would be more convincing if the UK was not cutting its aid budget.

He asks about the Middle East peace process. It is urgent to restart it, he says. A Palestinian state seems more distant than ever. Will the PM push for a settlement, and for the end to illegal settlements?

Johnson says it is common ground in the Commons that the solution is a two-state outcome. He says he has made that clear.

He says Starmer is wrong to accuse the government of not being ambitious in international aid. The government is spending more than Labour ever did, he says. He says the British people know that that is the right priority for this country. And if Labour want a vote, the people had a vote on this last month. And they voted firmly in favour of the government.


Starmer says Johnson cannot claim to be on the side of deprived kids if he does not support the Collins plan. “Come off it.”

Turning to the G7, he says the UK must lead, and not just host. There must be a clear plan to vaccinate the world. Will the PM take the lead and do whatever is necessary to make global vaccinations a reality?

Yes, says Johnson.

He says the UK was one of the first countries to authorise the AstraZeneca vaccine. And one in three vaccine doses distributed around the world are AZ. That is global Britain in action.

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