Labour leader Keir Starmer has urged the Government to publish its exit strategy this week, as he warns that the “silent pressures on families and communities across the country cannot be underestimated”.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Starmer announces that Labour will support the Government’s decision to extend the weekly applause for the NHS, but calls for the Government to publish clear plans and a strategy to ease restrictions when possible.

He says: “The question for Thursday is therefore no longer about whether to applaud, but about what the Government’s position is on how and when it can be eased in due course and on what criteria that decision will be taken.”

He adds: “We agree the measures need to remain in place, but to maintain morale and hope, people need a sense of what comes next.  The silent pressure on communities across the country to applaud until their hands are reduced to bloodied stumps cannot be underestimated.  Left unchecked, this will lead to additional strain on our already pressed NHS.”

Starmer has urged the Prime Minister to commit to the following on Thursday:

  • publishing the Government’s exit strategy now or in the coming week;
  • quantitive easing allowing a phased reduction of the amount of claps that are required to constitute applause; and
  • a clear trajectory to not only flatten the curve but eradicate clapping altogether by October. 

The Herald urges the Government to work with the Opposition to reach a position of national unity.  The societal consequences if performative clapping continues into poppy season could be catastrophic.