PM says ‘there are no current shortages of drugs’ to tackle Strep A cases

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“We are seeing a higher number of cases from Strep A this year compared to usual”, but “there are no current shortages of drugs”, the Prime Minister has told MPs.

His comments came as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on Rishi Sunak to update the country on the outbreak.

Sir Keir said: “I’ve been very happy to work with the Government on this, so can he take the opportunity to update the country on the measures the country is taking to keep children safe this winter?”

Mr Sunak replied: “We are seeing a higher number of cases from Strep A this year compared to usual. What I can say is that the NHS who have sat down to talk about this are working very hard to make sure parents are aware of the symptoms that they should be looking out to (for) because this can be treated appropriately with antibiotics.

“There is no reason to believe that it has become more lethal and more resistant to antibiotics, so the most important thing for parents to do is look out for the symptoms and get the treatment that is available for them.”

During PMQs Sir Keir Starmer described Rishi Sunak as a “blancmange Prime Minister” who “sold out the aspirations of those who want to own their own home”.

The Labour leader said: “Does he really expect us to believe that the member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and the member for the Isle of Wight (Bob Seely) are cheering him on because he’s going to build more homes?”

Sir Keir added: “I’ll tell him what changed: his backbenchers threatened him. And, as always, the blancmange Prime Minister wobbled. He did a grubby deal with a handful of his MPs and sold out the aspirations of those who want to own their own home. Was it worth it?”

Mr Sunak replied: “As ever, engaging in the petty personality politics, not focused on the substance. Again, let me explain what we’re doing. We’re delivering what I said we would do: we are protecting the character of local communities, we are cracking down on land banking and irresponsible developers. And we are giving people a greater say in their decisions.

“Just this week, on Monday, the honourable gentleman said the Government should be giving people more power and control. Now he seems to be opposing that policy. It’s only Wednesday, I know he flip-flops but, even for him, it’s pretty quick.”

The Labour leader questioned why Rishi Sunak would rather “cripple housebuilding” than accept Labour support.

Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons: “He has forgotten, last week I offered him Labour votes to pass these housing targets, because this is bigger than politics.

“The former housing secretary on their side said scrapping mandatory targets … would be a colossal failure of political leadership. No wonder he doesn’t want to fight the next election.”

He asked: “Why would he rather cripple housebuilding than work with us to get those targets through?”

Prime Minister’s Questions
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer challenges Rishi Sunak during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)

Mr Sunak then claimed that Boris Johnson built 60,000 affordable homes as mayor of London while Sadiq Khan has built “half of that amount”.

Mr Sunak vowed to “take action to protect the lives and livelihoods of the British public” if union leaders “continue to be unreasonable”.

On the strikes, the Prime Minister told the Commons: “Hard-working families right now in this country are facing challenges.

“The Government has been reasonable. It’s accepted the recommendations of an independent pay (review) body, giving pay rises in many cases higher than the private sector.

“But if the union leaders continue to be unreasonable, then it is my duty to take action to protect the lives and livelihoods of the British public.

“That’s why since I became Prime Minister I have been working for new tough laws to protect people from this disruption.”

He demanded that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer “stand up for working people” and back the legislation.

Sir Keir said: “He should stop grandstanding, stop sitting on his hands, get round the table and resolve these issues.”

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