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Prime Minister's Questions: 29 April 2020

29 April 2020

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During PMQs today MPs questioned the First Secretary Dominic Raab about coronavirus, PPE for frontline staff, testing and more.

Questions from the Leader of the Opposition

The Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer asked:

  • about deaths outside of hospitals, including care homes and testing.
  • He asked the First Minister, Dominic Raab, if he thinks the total amount of covid-19 related deaths are "truly dreadful".
  • why he thinks coronavirus spreads so fast in the care sector.
  • for an update on the figures of those who have died on the frontline in healthcare and social work.
  • about PPE for frontline staff. He said "it is ten weeks since the Health Secretary declared that there was a serious and imminent threat to life" and 1 in 4 doctors are still not getting the protection they need.
  • about coronavirus testing, saying there are "obviously still significant problems" as "demand has gone through the rough". He asked if Dominic Raab can clarify whether the Government's target for 250,000 coronavirus tests a day is still a Government target and when the Government will hit the target.
  • about the transparency of the Government's exit strategy for coronavirus.
  •  if the Government will work with the opposition on the question of what happens at the next stage of the coronavirus exit strategy.

Questions from the Scottish National Party's Westminster Leader

The Scottish National Party's Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford, asked:

  • about the deadline for the Brexit negotiations, which is at the end of the year. He went on to ask "why is the Government threatening to isolate our economy at the end of the year during the biggest economic crisis of our time?" because the Government is "shamefully gambling our economic future with a no deal Brexit". 

Full list of topics and questioners 

  • Conservative MP, James Cartlidge (South Suffolk) asked what more can be done to free up the NHS so that constituents with cancer and other serious non-Covid conditions start being treated again as soon as possible.
  • Conservative MP, Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) asked "will garden centres and nurseries be able to open in short order".
  • Conservative MP, Rob Roberts (Delyn) asked whether Dominic Raab agrees that providing financial education in schools is vital in empowering young people and also furthers our levelling up programme.
  • Scottish National Party MP, Allan Dorans (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock) asked whether the Government "will make a commitment today that when a vaccine for Covid-19 becomes available, the UK will take a leading role, together with other nations, to ensure to distribute it according to needs of people across the world rather than on the basis of wealth".
  • Conservative MP, Robert Courts (Witney) asked whether the First Secretary agrees that "as the nation makes sacrifices unheard of in peacetime it's also time for banks to do their bit".
  • Labour MP, Zarah Sultana (Coventry South) asked whether the Government will "follow the likes of Denmark" and "stand up to big businesses".
  • Conservative MP, Robert Largan (High Peak) asked about urgent care capacity. He asked if he could be assured that the Government will "remain committed to building these badly-needed urgent care centres"
  • Labour MP, Wes Streeting (Ilford North) asked whether the Government will do more to support people who are not safe in their own homes.
  • Conservative MP, Mr Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) asked will Dominic Raab join him in "congratulating the NHS staff, not only for caring for those who are ill but also for the wonderful support they give to their loved ones".
  • Labour MP, Geraint Davies (Swansea West) asked whether the decision to opt of EU joint procurement of PPE, ventilators and medical equipment was a "political or commercial decision".
  • Conservative MP, Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) asked "in any economic unlock that in phase 1, that garden centres and nurseries, seasonal nurseries, will be allowed to open" with "careful and considered strict guidelines".
  • Labour MP, Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) asked about early years workers as they are not able to access the furlough scheme. "What will he do to solve this out and ensure that these nurseries still exist once this crisis is over?", he asked.
  • Conservative MP, Saqib Bhatti (Meriden) asked if will join him in "calling on the Police and Crime Commissioner to reverse his decision to close the local police station" and what will be done after lockdown to protect communities against knife crime.
  • Scottish National Party MP, Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) asked about business insurers and claims from businesses. She went on to ask "will the UK government intervine and stand behind these claims?".
  • Conservative MP, David Mundell (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale) asked about lorry drivers being key workers. He asked "can you ensure that we're doing all that we can to support lorry drivers as they carry out their important duties during this crisis".
  • Scottish National Party MP, Dave Doogan (Angus) asked about the furlough scheme.
  • Conservative MP, Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) asked about changes to emergency powers under the care act. She asked the First Secretary to assure her that "autistic people will not be disproportionately affected by these changes and publish which councils have to resort to emergency powers" 
  • Democratic Unionist Party MP, Jeffrey Donaldson (Lagan Valley) asked about deaths not effected by coronavirus. He asked if the Government can "advise us of the measures the Government intends to take to address this issue and to ensure more people are able to attend treatment, including cancer patients.

Catch up on the full PMQs

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Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor