Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: Sturgeon challenged over care home deaths

Sunday shows round-up: Sturgeon challenged over care home deaths
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Nicola Sturgeon – England's care home deaths are under-reported

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has argued that the reason for Scotland's relatively high rate of Covid-19 deaths in care homes could be because the figures for England and Wales are artificially low:

NS: It's often put to me that the death rate for... care homes in Scotland is higher than it is in England and I just don't believe that that is the case... It's not for me to explain England's figures, but I think here there is, at least on the face of it, a question of under-reporting in England.

Dominic Raab – UK 'can't stay in lockdown forever'

The Foreign Secretary joined Sophy Ridge this morning to discuss the government's latest steps in easing the lockdown. Raab said that easing restrictions would be a tricky task to get right, as it carried the risk that the re-infection rate (known as the R number) could rise back above the crucial figure of 1. However, he stressed that it was critical for the country to begin returning to normal as soon as possible:

DR: Obviously this is a sensitive moment, but we can't just stay in lockdown forever. We've got to transition, and the more we transition through careful steps, the more I think we'll build up confidence in the approach we're taking.

People can use 'common sense' on lockdown rules

Andrew Marr asked Raab how much leeway the government would be giving people to use their initiative when interpreting the government's latest lockdown guidance. The question comes after an uncomfortable week for the government in which many people have accused the Prime Minister's special adviser Dominic Cummings of breaking the rules in place at the time:

DR: With any rules and any law, it's a balance... Ultimately, we do need people to exercise judgement and common sense... It's really important that that continues.

UK will have 'world beating' test and trace system

Raab also defended the government's new testing and tracing system. Marr took issue with the Prime Minister's description of it as 'world beating', drawing comparisons with the advanced scheme underway in South Korea. Contact tracing in the UK has been taking place since Thursday, with the associated app yet to be introduced outside of the Isle of Wight:

AM: Is there really going to be a world beating test and trace system going tomorrow?

DR: Absolutely... [It will be] a leading system tailored to British needs.

AM: We're not going to be able to...trace 65,000 people in a matter of days...are we?

DR: The advantage that we've got... is that we can learn [and] take advantage of the best features of all [the world's] different systems. 

Anneliese Dodds – Easing lockdown must be safe

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has attracted some criticism for not supplying Marr with clarity about the Labour party's position on ending lockdown. Dodds expressed her concern but did not suggest what Labour would do differently:

AD: We know it's going to be a difficult decision for any government when to unlock. We appreciate that... I would never say that there shouldn't be a re-opening, but it's got to be a safe one. That's the critical issue now, and the government has got to get a grip of those big problems.

It's right that Rosie Duffield has resigned

Dodds said that it was the right course of action for her colleague Rosie Duffield to resign her role as a whip after she was found to have met with her boyfriend in public in April, despite not being in isolation with him:

AD: She was absolutely right to resign... It's absolutely correct that she's immediately taken responsibility for that.

Arlene Foster – We will work to minimise border checks

Marr also spoke to the First Minister of Northern Ireland about the government's plans for customs checks between the province and the rest of the UK once the Brexit transition period is over. The checks are against the wishes of Arlene Foster and the DUP. She made clear that it was her priority to ensure that the flow of trade would be as smooth as possible under the circumstances:

AF: We were very concerned about the checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain... What we have to do now is minimise those checks and make sure that they do not damage the economy of Northern Ireland.

Mary Bousted – Summer holidays should not be cancelled

And finally, the head of the National Education Union Mary Bousted told Ridge that summer holidays were still needed for teachers as much as children:

MB: The summer holiday shouldn't be cancelled because teachers have been working flat out to provide education for children at home. What should happen is... we support clubs and activities on a volunteer basis for children to meet together and socialise.