UK Covid live: Starmer says PM’s decision to abstain on extending £20-per-week benefit uplift ‘pathetic’

Latest news: Nadhim Zahawi criticises Sir Keir Starmer’s motion calling for government to abandon plans to scrap uplift to universal credit

10.09am GMT

Sir Keir Starmer has criticised the vaccine deployment minister, Nadhim Zahawi, for calling Labour’s vote on keeping the £20-per-week universal credit uplift a “stunt”. (See 9.20am.) In an interview on ITV’s Lorraine, Starmer also said that Boris Johnson’s decision to order Tory MPs to abstain in the vote was “pathetic” and that lots of Conservatives probably privately agreed with Labour on this issue.

He told the programme:

If [Zahawi] is going to call it a stunt, he should probably come with me to a food distribution centre to see these families this morning and explain to them what is a lifeline to them is a ‘stunt’, because it certainly isn’t from their point of view.

I actually think in their heart of hearts quite a lot of Tory MPs know that cutting this money to people who desperately need it in the middle of a pandemic is the wrong thing to do, they know that, they probably want to vote with us but because of the tribal way we do politics they can’t.

9.56am GMT

All eligible care home residents in Newcastle upon Tyne and most of the staff looking after them have received the coronavirus vaccine, the GP leading the project has said. As PA Media reports, Dr Jane Carman said the programme involved seven teams made up of a doctor, nurse and administrator going to each home, working with care staff and completing the task in less than a fortnight. She said none of the residents refused to have the jab.

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