Boris Johnson branded ‘super spreader of confusion’ at rowdy PMQs


oris Johnson was labelled a “super spreader of confusion” on Wednesday as the Prime Minister clashed with Sir Keir Starmer over self-isolation and vaccine passports.

Mr Johnson faced a grilling from the Labour leader at a rowdy Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons.

Following days of mixed messages from ministers, the Labour leader asked: “If somebody’s pinged by the NHS app, as millions will be over coming weeks, should they isolate yes or no?”

Responding virtually as he continues his self-isolation at his country retreat, Mr Johnson replied: “I think that everybody understands the inconvenience of being pinged, as he rightly says here I am, I wish I was with you in the Commons chamber today. I apologise to everybody in business up and down the land in all kinds of services, public sector or otherwise who are experiencing inconvenience.

“We will be switching, as the House knows, to a system based on contact testing rather than contact isolation, but until then I just must remind everybody that isolation is a vital tool of our defence against the disease.”

He added: “Everybody should get a jab.”

Sir Keir claimed the country was “heading for a summer of chaos” as he highlighted the one million children out of school last week and the “huge number” of businesses closing due to staff isolating.

He highlighted confusion over the isolation exemption list before adding: “I know the Prime Minister likes to govern by three-word slogans, I think ‘on the hoof’ might work pretty well.”

Mr Johnson described Sir Keir’s questions as “feeble stuff” and said: “He wants to keep this country, as far as I understand his position, in lockdown.”

Confusion then emerged in the chamber as Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he was struggling to hear the Prime Minister, with Mr Johnson repeatedly saying: “Do you want me to have another go? Can you hear me? Do you want me to give that answer again?”

On self-isolation rules, Sir Keir said: “The Government’s all over the place on this.”

He said: “Yesterday his business minister said the app was an advisory tool only, another Government minister and, I kid you not, said yesterday the app is just to allow you to make informed decisions. What on earth does that mean?”

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