Fiona Bruce, host of Question Time, spoke to a virtual audience from Coventry along with a panel of politicians and experts. On the panel was Gillian Keegan MP, Andy Burnham, Dame Donna Kinnair, Yanis Varoufakis and Michael Portillo. The BBC’s weekly debate show saw an audience member praise the Prime Minister for dealing with the pandemic amid mass public scrutiny. It follows recent YouGov polling showing Mr Johnson lose his lead over Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over the public’s disapproval of his handling of the pandemic.
Paul Somerfield, from Coventry, was asked by Ms Bruce to give his thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic, where he made a call for unity between political parties.
He said: “We really must unite, we must stop Boris bashing.
“There’s been no other prime minister who’s governed during such horrendous times in our peace time.
“Now is the time for the United Kingdom to all unite and get behind him and stick to the rules and regulations, because there is no quick fix.”
Mr Somerfield’s comments by Andy Burnham, British Labour Party politician and Mayor of Greater Manchester.
Mr Burnham criticised the Government, saying “It does feel increasingly to people that we’re being treated with contempt in the North of England.”
He went on to say the Government needs to support businesses with “a full furlough scheme” if localised lockdowns continue.
Audience member Jaspal responded to the comments and said of the UK Government’s response to the pandemic: “Because it’s unprecedented, why can’t we take unprecedented actions?
“Why can’t we say ‘take all the politics out of this?’ Because it always feels like a bit of a slanging match.
“Why can’t you just sort of say, ‘you know what, have a uniform government, and take massive, big actions’ because we really need a more humanitarian approach to this rather than a political approach.”
The audience’s comments were also in response to a clash between Mr Burnham and Gillian Keegan MP, minister for apprenticeships and skills.
The Manchester mayor questioned whether the Government was doing all it could to protect job losses and hardship from the pandemic in the north of England, which angered Ms Keegan.
She said, in response to accusations the Government was not protecting jobs: “It’s the damage from the coronavirus, the global pandemic is doing.
“The Government has been there to help as many people as we can every step of the way.
“It is not the Government that are doing this, it is the coronavirus, the public health epidemic that we are dealing with.”
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Mr Johnson himself has attacked Labour for not “getting behind” the Government during the pandemic.
But Sir Keir has repeatedly claimed he has supported the Government’s restrictions to manage the pandemic.
Early in September, the Labour leader offered cross-party support for any “genuine national plan” to protect from job losses.
During this weeks Prime Ministers Questions however, Sir Keir attacked Mr Johnson for “intergalactic incompetence” for not publishing the “scientific basis” for his 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants, and may not support the measure when it heads to Commons this week.
The Question Time broadcast comes after recent polling showed the Prime Minister suffering in support over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
YouGov polling for Government approval on October 5 showed 55 percent of Brits surveyed disapprove of Mr Johnson’s party.
Polling from former Tory chairman Lord Ashcroft also showed a total of 37 percent of voters think that Sir Keir would make the best Prime Minister, ahead of Mr Johnson on 30 percent.
The UK has seen a total of 564,501 cases from coronavirus and 42,682 deaths.