Should Boris Johnson resign or should he be given more credit?

Boris Johnson has battled coronavirus, became a new dad and is leading us through a global pandemic. On the day the Prime Minister addressed the Conservative Party conference, GMB asked whether he should quit or whether we should give him more credit.

Joining Piers and Susanna in the debate was former Regional Director of Public Health England Professor John Ashton, former Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow and former Conservative Health Minister Edwina Currie.

Believing that the nation is back to where it was in April in terms of the handling of the pandemic, Mr Ashton said: "It’s a disaster. We’re now in the eighth month of this emergency and it feels very much like we’re back in April and nothing has been learnt."

On the topic of the technical glitch that meant nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported, Mr Ashton added: "Somebody needs to own the mess. Is it a political ownership? Is it a technical ownership? Is it a Public Health ownership? Somebody needs to own the mess because lives are at stakes here. Tens of thousands of people have died during the first period and now we’re heading into this situation again.

"This 16,000 that has gone missing indicates that we’re probably further up the epidemic curve that we thought we were and it may well be that the virus is replicating faster than we’re being told."

Responding to Susanna's question about whether Mr Johnson is the right man for the job and on whether he should resign, Mr Bercow replied: "This is a government that doesn’t believe in accountability. Therefore in that sense, it is a red herring. If the Prime Minister isn’t going to accept or demand the resignation of the Secretary of State for Education after the exam fiasco over which he presided. If he’s not going to ask for the resignation of the Health Secretary despite the fiasco over which he has presided, manifestly he’s not going to resign himself."

Mr Bercow went on to criticise the government for their mixed messaging and refusal to appear on Good Morning Britain.

"They have [the government] have had months and months of mixed and misleading messages and frankly, doing press conferences and scripted soundbites in a televised address to the nation or taking to Twitter is no substitute for accountability to parliament." 

"Palpably that is a considerable insult to you and Piers, but more importantly it is more of an insult to your viewers," he added.

When asked about the technical glitch, Ms Currie told Piers and Susanna that the cases didn't go unreported.

"They didn’t fall out of the system, they were given their positive tests. They were given the results of their tests and they were able to do exactly what most responsible people ought to do," she explained.

"1.8 million tests were processed in the last week of September. A few months ago, that wouldn’t have looked like a remote possibility," she added.