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Boris Johnson urged to use Christmas to consider if he has the authority to lead

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said during PMQs that the PM is ‘too weak to lead’.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson was urged by Sir Keir Starmer to reflect on his position over the Christmas recess (House of Commons/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was urged by Sir Keir Starmer to reflect on his position over the Christmas recess (House of Commons/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was urged by Sir Keir Starmer to reflect on his position over the Christmas recess (House of Commons/PA)

Boris Johnson was urged to use the Christmas break to consider his position as Prime Minister, as he was branded “too weak to lead” by Labour.

The Prime Minister was pressed by Sir Keir Starmer over whether he has the trust and authority to “lead Britain through the crisis” and ensure the public follow new restrictions to combat the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

But Mr Johnson, loudly cheered by his benches, attempted to claim the public health measures were “won” with “Conservative votes”.

This was despite three sizeable rebellions from his MPs, including 100 backbenchers rebelling on Covid passes – a measure which would have been defeated if Labour had opposed them rather than offered its support.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said: “The British public are looking for a Prime Minister with the trust and the authority to lead Britain through the crisis. Instead we’re burdened with the worst possible Prime Minister at the worst possible time.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson is ‘the worst possible Prime Minister’ (House of Commons/PA)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson is ‘the worst possible Prime Minister’ (House of Commons/PA)

PA

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson is ‘the worst possible Prime Minister’ (House of Commons/PA)

“The Prime Minister is so weak that without Labour votes last night, vital public health measures wouldn’t have got through.”

The Labour leader said Mr Johnson responded “it’s not true”, with Sir Keir adding: “He’s so socially distanced from the truth, he thinks that’s not true. I don’t know where to start.

“We can’t go on with a Prime Minister who is too weak to lead. So will the Prime Minister take time this Christmas to look in the mirror and ask himself whether he has the trust and authority to lead this country?”

Mr Johnson replied: “We won that vote last night with Conservative votes.

“I respect the feelings, the anxieties colleagues have – of course I do – and legitimate anxieties that colleagues have about restrictions on their liberty and the liberty of people.

“But I believe the approach we’re taking is balanced and proportionate and right for this country.”

Mr Johnson went on to defend “tough” decisions he has taken as Prime Minister, including on the vaccine rollout.

He concluded: “They vacillate, we vaccinate. They jabber, we jab. They play party politics and we get on with the job.”

Earlier, Sir Keir accused Conservative rebels of having “voted against steps necessary to protect the NHS”.

He added Labour would continue to vote for regulations needed to “save lives and protect the NHS” as he raised questions over Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Sir Keir said: “Can I ask the Prime Minister to get his house in order so he can say the same about the members behind him?”

Mr Johnson replied: “Yes. If further measures are needed, as the House will understand, if further regulation is needed of course this House will have a further say.

“As for following his leadership, they wibble-wobbled over Plan B, they wibble-wobbled over quarantine, and if we listened to him, we wouldn’t have even had the vaccine rollout.”

Sir Keir later claimed “the only person undermining public confidence is sitting right there”, gesturing to the Prime Minister.

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