Great Britain

PMQs LIVE: How did it get in UK? Boris set for Brazil variant backlash as Keir hits out

The Prime Minister is set to face questioning over the infectious strain of coronavirus which is understood to have mutated in Manaus in Brazil. There are fears about how the vaccines being quickly distributed across the UK would be able to defend against the infectious strain. On Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed officials had narrowed the search for one missing case of the Brazil strain - which had been identified in the UK - to 397 households in southeast England. Six cases of the mutant variant were discovered in the UK last month with three cases found in Scotland and the others in England.

Research from the Brazilian city of Manaus has also suggested between 25 percent and 61 percent of people who have previously had Covid are susceptible to reinfection from the strain.

But, British experts have cautioned that the study cannot be used to predict what may happen in the UK.

Sharon Peacock, executive director and chairwoman of the Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium, and professor of public health and microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said P1 had been found in 25 countries to date.

But she said the current study could not be used to speculate on the effectiveness of vaccines or how things will "pan out in other countries including the UK".

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How the findings, which have yet to be peer-reviewed, "relate to United Kingdom is yet to be determined", she added.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer is also likely to question the Prime Minister on the mass reopening of schools, which is set to take place on Monday.

It is the first step in the Prime Minister’s roadmap to reopening England from its third lockdown to combat rising Covid infections.

Prime Minister's Questions will get underway at midday and will be followed by Rishi Sunak's Budget, as the Chancellor unveils his plan to help the country recover from the pandemic. 


12.03pm update: Keir Starmer quizzes PM on selling weapons

Keir Starmer quizzed Boris Johnson on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Sir Keir said: “Does the Prime Minister agree with President Biden that the sale of arms that could be used in the war of Yemen should be suspended?”

Mr Jonson replied: “Ever since the tragic conflict in Yemen broke out, this country has scrupulously followed the consolidated guidance of which he is well aware.”

But, Sir Keir hit back, saying: “While President Biden has suspended arms sales that could be used in Yemen, the UK hasn’t.”

12.01pm update: Boris Johnson pays tribute

Boris Johnson paid tribute to victims of Salisbury attack on the three year anniversary.

He said: ”All our thoughts remain with those affected, their families and love ones, and we will continue to seek justice."

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