Coronavirus: Dawn Butler calls Prime Minster ‘reckless’ and ‘irresponsible’ in handling of the pandemic

Dawn Butler MP is continuing to support Brent businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dawn Butler MP is continuing to support Brent businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. - Credit: Archant

MP Dawn Butler has accused the prime minister of being “reckless” in his handling of the covid pandemic, prompting an accusation of using “disgraceful language”.

The Brent Central MP clashed with fellow guest and broadcaster Iain Dale on the Jeremy Vine Show on Wednesday morning (May 13), as millions of people returned to work.

Boris Johnson has told people to return to work if they are unable to do their jobs from home, citing the construction and manufacturing industries.

On the Channel 5 show Ms Butler is heard saying: “The prime minster was reckless on Sunday in literally sending people to catch the virus but the chancellor’s done the right thing (in extending the furlough scheme).”

Fellow guest Mr Dale replied: “So Boris Johnson’s sending people out to catch the virus. What on earth do you mean by that? Are you saying that he’s deliberately wanting people to catch the virus?

He added: “Phrases like that are actually pretty disgraceful.”

Ms Butler said that Mr Johnson’s actions were “pretty disgraceful” in “telling people to go to work without the proper infrastructure in place, when he’s sending people to go to work with mixed messages. That’s irresponsible and if you want to be disgusted at somebody, be disgusted at the prime minister.”

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Mr Dale continued to defend the prime minister saying he has “asked people to go back to work in a safe way”.

“Let’s just cut this disgraceful language shall we because no other politician is doing it,” he said.

Ms Butler replied: “Let me tell you, I am the MP for Brent and I have a higher death rate than a lot of other MPS so excuse me if I am going to be passionate about this because I want my constituents to survive this pandemic.”

Following the broadcast exchange Ms Butler told this paper: “We have to get the infrastructure in place We need a lot more testing. We need to have tests that find out whether you’ve had the virus. We need the infrastructure in place so that people are protected as much as possible - that’s key.”

She said most Londoners do not have a car or a bicycle and that public transport is not yet running at full capacity.

“In Spain they are handing out free masks at stations,” she said. “That’s preparation. Where’s the preparation?”

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