Sophy Ridge on Sunday
Shadow mental health minister Rosena Allin-Khan described the position of Test and Trace head Dido Harding as “untenable”. The Labour frontbencher also confirmed that Labour would force a fresh Commons vote on extending free school meals.
- On the campaign for another Commons vote on free school meals: “The Labour Party are not going to give up on our young people, on the children who are going to bed hungry.”
- On the Conservatives who voted against the motion last week: “The fact that 322 MPs made the morally reprehensible decision to vote against free school meals this week is deeply saddening.”
- On recent community campaigns to provide food to children in need: “What has played out over the ensuing days is the very best of what it means to be British. Our communities have stood up to this government and said: ‘we don’t care what you have done – we are angry, and we are going to take matters into our own hands’.”
- On the work of footballer Marcus Rashford: “It makes me so proud to be British and I know that Marcus Rashford and his campaign absolutely represents the best of our country.”
- On hopes for a government U-turn on free school meals: “We are honestly hoping the Conservative government dig deep and look introspectively and perform a U-turn on this, but we certainly will be pushing for a vote before Christmas.”
- On Tory dissent over Test and Trace: “I think the huge take-home message here is that the Tories are infighting because even they themselves can see just how catastrophic the handling of our test, trace and isolate system has been.”
- On whether Dido Harding needs to stand down: “Her position is very difficult, it’s untenable really. But fundamentally this comes down to the responsibility of the government – they have failed people.”
- On how long Labour’s proposed ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown would last: “It would last for a certain amount of time no matter what happens and then we would go back into the tiered system.”
- On the need for a circuit breaker: “Fundamentally, this circuit breaker is needed to get on top of a shambolic test, trace and isolate system. If we are able to get on top of that, it will protect our economy.”
- On rumoured government proposals to reduce the 14-day Covid self-isolation period: “It is essential that we only do what is safe and, fundamentally, it all comes back down to getting on top of test, trace and isolate because if the government were able to do that then people would have some certainty.”
- On the impact of Covid on people’s mental health: “The government need to have a plan in place, a mental health and wellbeing strategy, going into this winter. That is what Labour is calling for.”
- On her three breaches of parliamentary rules: “The rules are important and they are there to be followed. The first time I broke the rules was because on paper that I paid for myself I used a picture of a crown and portcullis. I made a mistake, I didn’t realise that that was an issue.”
- She added: “I then declared my NHS payment for my shift a little bit late. And I used paper to respond to people who had written to me about Brexit. I did it in good faith.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis also appeared on the show this morning. Discussing the test and trace scheme, he acknowledged that the government “want to see it improve”, but defended the scheme as “the biggest in Europe”.
Asked about reports that private sector consultants in the testing system have been paid day rates of £7,000, he said it was “quite right” that the government used both the public and private sectors as it brought in “the very best expertise”.