Watch: Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson clash over 10pm curfew
Boris Johnson refuses to commit to publishing “scientific basis” behind 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants
Sir Keir Starmer tells Johnson at PMQs: “Public deserve to know”
Vote on continuing curfew set to take place next week, with government facing defeat amid anger from Tory backbenchers
A vote on continuing the curfew had been set to take place on Wednesday, but this was delayed until next week.
The government is facing a defeat on the issue, with a number of Conservative backbenchers angry at the rule.
At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, Sir Keir Starmer said: “The PM knows there are deeply held views across the country in different ways on this.
“One question is now screaming out: is there a scientific basis for the 10pm rule? The public deserve to know, Parliament deserves to know.
“If there is, why doesn’t the government do itself a favour and publish it? If not, why doesn’t the government review the rule?”
He called for Johnson to commit to publishing the “scientific basis” for the curfew before next week’s vote in the House of Commons.
Johnson, however, refused to commit and instead focused on how Starmer accepted the rule when it was introduced as part of a raft of new restrictions on 22 September.
He said: “The basis on which we set out the curtailment on hospitality was the basis on which he accepted it two weeks ago! And that is to reduce the spread of the virus.”
Johnson, after Starmer’s MPs abstained on Tuesday’s vote to continue the “rule of six”, which bans most social gatherings of more than six people, went on to question the “robustness of the Labour Party and their willingness to enforce the restrictions”.
“That’s not new leadership, that’s no leadership.”
Rebel Tory backbenchers have been demanding that the government scraps the curfew, which applies in England, claiming such a measure is not justified by the evidence and damages the economy.
Earlier on Wednesday, Labour mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson also described the curfew as having “the wrong effect” and said it should be down to local authorities to work with businesses in this policy area.
On Tuesday, chancellor Rishi Sunak had insisted “the curfew was something we were told by our advisers could well make a difference to the spread of the transmission”. However, he didn’t say who the advisers were or what their recommendation was based on.
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