New Coronavirus War Committees Must Engage With Opposition Party Leaders

Ian Blackford MP (pictured) has written to Boris Johnson calling on his government to ensure that its newly established coronavirus “war committees” work with the leaders of the main Westminster opposition parties.

The call follows a shake-up in Whitehall after the UK government established new committees to help tackle the coronavirus, which include covering the economy and business, healthcare, public sector preparedness, and international response. 

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ian Blackford urged Johnson to adopt a cross-party approach to tackle the coronavirus crisis effectively and to deliver key support for communities and businesses across the UK during this emergency.

Commenting, he said:

“The scale and seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic demands a collective response across the political spectrum, and this unprecedented time requires unprecedented levels of co-operation.

“Faced with this emergency, it is now more important than ever that we practically and effectively work together to protect and support our people.

“That is why I have written to the Prime Minister urging him to engage with opposition parties, and to ensure that the UK government’s new committees to tackle COVID-19 work with the leaders of the main opposition parties, allowing for input and briefings.

“I have already raised with the Prime Minister the multitude of issues and concerns already arising – including support for workers and businesses, sufficient supply of liquidity, the level of statutory sick pay, and support for the self-employed.

“It is vital we now work to deliver the support they so urgently need.

“As the full impact becomes clearer, a cross-party approach will be able to recommend interventions that will inevitably be required from the Treasury to support individuals and businesses.

“The UK government needs to send an urgent signal to workers that it is going to support them in their time of need and seek to save the countless jobs at risk as we face this crisis.”