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UK coronavirus live: PM admits there is not enough testing capacity but warns second lockdown would be 'disastrous' UK coronavirus live: Boris Johnson admits there is not enough testing capacity; 3,991 new cases recorded
(32 minutes later)
PM says testing capacity will be 500,000 per day by end of October but warns of financial consequences of a new lockdown; Rhondda Valley outbreak linked to trip to Doncaster races PM says testing capacity will be 500,000 per day by end of October; close to 4,000 lab-confirmed new cases reported in UK
Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chair of the defence committee, goes next.
Q: Can I meet with the chancellor to see what can be done to help service charities, who have lost revenue during the crisis?
Yes, says Johnson.
Ellwood urges the PM to make more use of the armed forces. They are trained for emergencies.
Sarah Champion (Lab) goes next.
Q: Are you frightened of parliamentary scrutiny of foreign aid?
No, says Johnson. He says he relishes it. He says there has been a suggestion that the DfID committee should be merged with the foreign affairs committee. But he says he can see the case for a separate committee dealing with aid.
Q: You mean there should be a separate committee?
Yes, says Johnson. But he says that is for the liaison committee to decide.
Sir Bernard Jenkin says that is what the liaison committee thinks too.
Q: What advice have you had from the Foreign Office as to the impact of the internal market bill on relations with the US, and a possible Biden administration.
Johnson says he would not discuss advice like that. But he is not aware of receiving any such advice.
Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chair of the foreign affairs committee, goes next.
Q: Do you consider what is happening to the Uighurs in China as genocide?
Johnson says genocide is a term with specific consequences in international law. He says he does not think the UK has used that term in connection with China.
Q: Will you let ministers and members of the royal family attend the winter Olympics in China in 2022?
Johnson says they will review that nearer to the time.
Q: Would you like to see Japan join the five eyes intelligence community?
Johnson says he is in favour of bringing groups together. But five eyes is a particular group; he says he is not aware of Japan having expressed an interest in joining.
The government has said that as of 9am on Wednesday there had been a further 3,991 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. That is the highest daily total since early May (although at that point far fewer people were being tested every day).
The UK has also recorded a further 20 UK coronavirus deaths.
The figures were published on the government’s coronavirus dashboard (although for some users it has been slow to update).
Q: Can you decouple crime and justice aspects of the negotiation from the trade aspects?
That is not favoured by the EU, says Johnson.
Sir Bob Neill, the Conservative chair of the justice committee, goes next.
Q: What are we doing to ensure that the UK continues to have access to EU crime and justice databases from January?
Johnson says there will be changes. But the UK will still be able to protect its citizens.
Q: Would you like the UK to get back into the European arrest warrant. The alternative won’t be as good?
Johnson says he wants speedy justice.
Q: Will the UK government allow the Scottish government to hold another independence referendum?
Johnson says he does not think a generation has elapsed since the last one.
Asked about opposition to the internal market bill in the US Congress, Johnson says the aspects of the bill that will protect the Good Friday agreement may not have been properly communicated to people.
The SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil goes next.
Q: Will you be able to find anyone to replace the advocate general for Scotland?
Johnson says he cannot comment on that.
Sir Bill Cash, the Conservative chair of the European scrutiny committee, goes next.Sir Bill Cash, the Conservative chair of the European scrutiny committee, goes next.
Cash says other governments have been in breach of international law without facing any sanctions.Cash says other governments have been in breach of international law without facing any sanctions.
Q: On sovereignty, do you agree that international law allows each state to give precedence to domestic law? “Sounds sensible to me,” says Cash.Q: On sovereignty, do you agree that international law allows each state to give precedence to domestic law? “Sounds sensible to me,” says Cash.
Johnson says he agrees. He wants a system that will protect parliamentary sovereignty, but also the integrity of the UK.Johnson says he agrees. He wants a system that will protect parliamentary sovereignty, but also the integrity of the UK.
Cash says he has 20 examples of EU overrides in UK law already.Cash says he has 20 examples of EU overrides in UK law already.
Q: Aren’t these examples of double standards?Q: Aren’t these examples of double standards?
Johnson says he thinks this is about the UK as a country ensuring that its “friends and partners” do not do something extreme or unreasonable in terms of implementing the Northern Ireland protocol.Johnson says he thinks this is about the UK as a country ensuring that its “friends and partners” do not do something extreme or unreasonable in terms of implementing the Northern Ireland protocol.
Johnson says he does not think the EU is negotiating in good faith.
Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Brexit committee, goes next.
Q: Is Lord Keen of Elie still in post?
Johnson says negotiations are still continuing, so he cannot give a clear answer.
Neil Parish (Con), chair of the environment committee, goes next.
Q: Are you confident that goods will be able to flow easily over the border from January?
Johnson says a huge amount of work on this is going on.
He says the internal market bill will help in this regard.
Q: If they play hardball, shouldn’t we threaten to put tariffs on all EU goods if there is no deal?
Johnson says the UK’s tariff regime would be “quite formidable” for some EU goods if there were no tariffs.
Q: So will you commit to reciprocal tariffs?
Of course, says Johnson. There will be tariffs. The schedule has been published.
Q: Reciprocal tariffs?
Yes, says Johnson.
Johnson says the UK will impose reciprocal tariffs on EU goods in the event of there being no trade deal. At one point the UK said it would not impose tariffs, regardless of what the EU did.
Labour’s Meg Hillier, the chair of the public accounts committee, goes next.
Q: Some 11% of pupils are missing school. What will you do to support them?
Johnson say there is a £1bn catch-up fund.
Q: School funding has gone down.
Johnson says he is surprised by Hillier’s hostile tone.
He says he does not accept her claim that test and trace has failed. It has done a “quite remarkable job” in expanding from a standing start.
He would not want people working in the system to think that MPs think they are failure.
Q: Who will lead the charge to get the moonshot working, with up to 10m tests per day?
Johnson says he does not recognise the figure.
(In fact, it comes from an official document.)
Julian Knight, the Conservative chair of the culture committee, goes next.
Q: Is it right that people in the arts and theatre community will lose help once the furlough scheme runs out?
Johnson says he wants them to be able to get back to normal.
Q: Can we have a specific date for theatre opening?
Johnson says he would like to be able to do that. But he says for people to go back to theatres with no physical distancing, you will need instant, mass testing. We are not there yet, he says.
Q: These sectors will need a long-term recovery plan. Are you aware of that, and what are you going to do about it?
Johnson says, from his time as London mayor, he knows how important this sector is.
Q: So will you commit to a long-term recovery plan for this sector?
Johnson says there is one already.
Q: Can we afford another national lockdown?
Johnson says he does not want on. It would be “disastrous”. But we must beat this disease by the plan set out.
Johnson says he has “real, real sympathy” for the self-employed who do not qualify for the Treasury support schemes available.
In response to another question from Stride, Johnson says he is right to say the threat of interest rates rising in the future is a real one.
Mel Stride, the Tory chair of the Treasury committee, goes next.
Q: Will the Treasury consider what it can to do support businesses that will be viable when this is over?
Johnson says the government will be intensely creative to help. People would not have expected it to produce something as imaginative as the furlough scheme. It will continue like that, he says.
Q: If you land at an Italian airport, you can be tested and get a result in 30 minutes. But our constituents cannot get tested. What are you going to do about it?
Johnson says he knows people have had infuriating experiences. He sympathises with them. But 89% of people get a result within 24 hours.
As for airport tests, they can produce false results giving people a false sense of security.
Q: Your ‘it all seems to be going well’ response is not appropriate.
Johnson says that is not what he said.
Q: If the government can break the law in a limited and specific way, why shouldn’t people do the same with the rule of six?
Johnson says he is urging people to obey this rule.
Catherine McKinnell (Lab) goes next.
Q: Why did you reject the recommendations from a committee proposing measures to support pregnant women during the crisis?
Johnson says he does not think that is the case. He supports partners being allowed to be present when women are giving birth. He said so in the Commons at PMQs, he says.
Q: But the petitions committee made a series of recommendations on this. Currently it is easier for a male partner to go to the pub than to be present at the birth. The government rejected almost all of them.
Johnson says he is not aware of this, but will look into it.