UK Opposition leader Keir Starmer said that the Labour party would support the government on lockdown extension to protect lives and safeguard the economy. He also called for building a national consensus on the plan for tackling the coronavirus crisis as the UK begins to ease restrictions and move out of lockdown.
“We have been clear that to protect lives and to safeguard our economy we need to support the government on lockdown and we will continue to do that. But there needs to be a discussion now about what comes next and we need to build a national consensus around that,” said Starmer in a statement.
Highlighting the importance of necessary planning for the next stage, the Labour leader said that they are “in this for a long haul”. Starmer also pinned the blame on the Conservative government for being “too slow” on implementing the lockdown, testing, and on getting protective equipment to the frontline.
“We need to learn from those mistakes as we go forward,” he added.
The 57-year-old leader outlined the seven “core principles” saying those are intended to ensure that businesses, public services and the public are kept safe as the country ventures into the next stage. He reiterated that he will work constructively with the government on the proposals to ensure they get the best possible response to this crisis.
Britain has reported over 190,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus with more than 28,000 COVID-19 related deaths so far. However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been under pressure to ease some of the measures allowing people to reopen their businesses.
Last month, Starmer had urged the government to publish its exit strategy asking them to be open and transparent about how it believes the lockdown will ease and eventually end. In a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Stramer said that there should be no dispute over the lockdown measures to contain the virus but people need a sense of what comes next to maintain their morale and hope.