Brexit: Boris Johnson shuts down Blackford’s fishing comments
Boris Johnson hit out at Mr Blackford for “ignoring” the strength of the UK’s economy and the fact each devolved Government has benefited from the COVID-19 vaccine. The SNP Westminster leader said the UK Government “has to act in a timely manner”. Speaking to Parliament, Mr Blackford said: “I think people across these islands have entered into this new year feeling a mix hope and fear. Hope that the vaccine will finally end this terrible pandemic but real fear too about the increased cases, hospital admissions and sadly the lives lost.”
He added: “This phase of the pandemic is now a race, a race to suppress the virus and a race to vaccinate our most vulnerable, but if we are asking people for one last effort, if we are asking them to endure weeks of lockdown then they need more clarity, they need protection and they need financial support.
“Most importantly the UK Government has to act in a timely manner.”
He added: “Nobody would say that this Prime Minister is one step ahead of tomorrow or acts and shows leadership in dealing with this health pandemic.
“The PM was slow to act in the spring of 2020, slow in the autumn and here again, reacts after the events to the threats that we all face.”
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Mr Johnson replied: “The general tenure of his questions seem to ignore the fact that I’m delighted to say the whole of the UK has benefited massively from the strength of the economy, the ability of the UK Treasury to make these commitments.
“And the mere fact Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, every part of the UK which received the vaccine is entirely thanks to our national NHS.
“That is something we can make common ground with the right honourable gentleman opposite.”
Mr Blackford also called for the Prime Minister to close the borders to “all but essential travel”.
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He told MPs: “On travel, is the Prime Minister prepared to learn from his Government’s past mistakes?
“Will he consider closing the UK border to all but essential travel to prevent new strains of the virus spreading?”
Boris Johnson replied: “As I said just now, we will make sure that we protect our borders from the readmission of the virus and he has seen what we did already in the case of the South African strain.
“And we’ll bring forward further measures to stop the readmission of the virus.”
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Mr Johnson warned it would take time to ease lockdown restrictions in England which could be in place until the end of March.
The Prime Minister said there was “no choice” but to issue the stay-at-home order and close schools given the spread of coronavirus, particularly the more infectious new variant.
Addressing MPs after the recall of the Commons from its Christmas break, Mr Johnson said there was now a race between the spread of the virus and the delivery of vaccines to the most vulnerable.
England’s lockdown has already come into force and MPs will vote later to retrospectively approve it.
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