THE Prime Minister was today accused of having a “total disregard for workers’ safety” after images emerged of packed London transport following his calls for people to return to work.

On Sunday Boris Johnson said the UK Government was “actively encouraging” those in England who cannot work from home to return to work. He suggested people should not use public transport, but government guidelines said if workers had to they should use a face covering.

READ MORE: Transport packed as people in England are told to return to work

This morning as workers in England began returning to their workplaces, concerning images from London showed people crammed onto tube platforms and busses as social distancing proved difficult in the tight spaces.

At PMQs, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford challenged the Tory leader on the scenes, which stemmed from what he called a “disastrous” series of events on Sunday. The day saw the UK Government abandon their Stay at Home messaging and implement a new “Stay Alert” campaign, only to be implemented in England, without advising Scotland’s First Minister of the new slogan.

The National:

Blackford said: “Events on Sunday could not have been more disastrous from this government. The Prime Minister has made confusion costly. Devolved administrations shut out, widespread confusion among the public, and a total disregard from this government for workers’ safety. Many sadly have seen the images of London busses being packed this morning.

“Mr Speaker will the Prime Minister accept that the clear message in Scotland is stay home to protect the NHS and to save lives?”

Johnson agreed that the messaging should remain in place in Scotland and added: “Indeed, the message throughout the country is of course that you should stay at home if you can unless there’s specific circumstances that we’ve outlined applied.”

But he went on: “I must say I don’t accept the characterisation of the co-operation that we’ve had across all four nations that the leader of the SNP makes. In my experience it’s been intense, it’s been going on for days and days and weeks and weeks and actually I think if you look at the totality of the measures that we’re taking as a country there is much more that unites us than divides us and we will go forward together.”

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber pointed out the Prime Minister had not addressed his question about the transport situation in London.

Blackford responded: “The reality is that the Prime Minister has failed to deliver a clear message and he didn’t address the point about London busses being packed this morning.

“The Prime Minister is threatening progress made against the spread of this virus by the general public who are following the advice to stay at home. The Prime Minister is putting workers’ safety at risk by calling on those who can’t work at home to go to their jobs without any guidance on health and safety.”

In response, the Tory leader eventually addressed the subject. He told the Chamber: “He raises a point about London busses which is quite right and I don’t want to see crowding on mass transit, on public transport, in our capital or anywhere else and we’re working very actively with TFL to ensure that what we do is we have more capacity, we discourage people from going to work during the peak and the operators in particular TFL lay on particular more tubes when those are necessary throughout the day and a huge amount of work is being done. We also want to see proper marshalling at stations to prevent crowding of trains.”