Angela Rayner has mocked Boris Johnson over his government’s “rule of six” exemption for grouse shooting and hunting.
Rayner, stepping in for Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, attacked Johnson over his record during the coronavirus outbreak before asking: “Is this really your top priority?”
On Monday, HuffPost UK reported Downing Street exempted grouse shooting and other “hunting” with guns from the “rule of six” law, which bans most social gatherings of more than six people in England.
Rayner accused Johnson of “incompetence” as she referred to the government’s recent woes with a rising COVID-19 infection rate and serious problems with its testing system.
“We have the highest death toll in Europe and we are on course for one of the worst recessions in the developed world,” Rayner said.
“This winter, we are staring down the barrel of a second wave with no plan for the looming crisis. People can’t say goodbye to their loved ones, grandparents can’t see their grandchildren and frontline staff can’t get the tests they need.
“And what was the top priority for the COVID war cabinet this weekend? Restoring grouse shooting.”
Referring to Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross, who funded Johnson’s £15,000 winter break in the Caribbean after the general election, Rayner went on: “I suppose it’s good news for people like the PM’s friend, who paid for a luxury Christmas getaway to a Caribbean island and funded his leadership campaign – and just so happens to own two grouse moor estates.
“So, PM, is this really your top priority?”
Johnson hit back at Rayner’s “carping from the sidelines” and criticised her for raising a “tangential” issue.
“We are getting on with delivering for the British public,” Johnson said.