Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked whether the public should still isolate if they are ‘pinged’ by the Covid app after the “public outcry” over Mr Johnson’s plans to avoid staying home alongside Chancellor Rishi Sunak over the weekend.
Sir Keir told the Commons “I think we were all a bit surprised that the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Cabinet Office minister were all randomly chosen for a get-out-of-isolation-free card.
“But it’s good that the Prime Minister finally recused himself, even if it took a public outcry, for the Communities Secretary to be humiliated on live TV and a trip to a country estate. If somebody’s pinged by the NHS app, as millions will be over coming weeks, should they isolate yes or no?”
Appearing on screens around the Chamber from his official Chequers residence Mr Johnson said he thinks “everybody understands the inconvenience of being pinged” and apologised to businesses across the country for disruption.
He added: “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.”
The virtual set up led to some confusion in Parliament, as Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was struggling to hear the Mr Johnson down the line.
There were shouts of ‘no’ from the Labour benches when the Prime Minister asked “Do you want me to have another go? Can you hear me? Do you want me to give that answer again?”