Labour’s deputy leader took on the prime minister at PMQs on Wednesday as Keir Starmer had been self-isolating.
“This winter, we are staring down the barrel of a second wave with no plan for the looming crisis,” Rayner told Johnson.
“People can’t say goodbye to their loved ones, grandparents can’t see their grandchildren and frontline staff can’t get the tests that they need – and what was the top priority for the Covid war cabinet this weekend? Restoring grouse shooting.”
She added: “So prime minister, is this really your top priority?”
Johnson replied that “while the Labour opposition has been consistently carping from the sidelines throughout this crisis” the government was “getting on with delivering for the British public”.
He added: “It’s with the common sense of the British people that we will succeed, build back better and stronger than ever before.”
HuffPost UK reported this week the government has exempted grouse shooting and other “hunting” with guns from the new coronavirus restrictions.
Pro-hunting and shooting groups can continue to hold gatherings of between six and 30 people because they are covered by a loophole that permits licensed “outdoor activity”.
HuffPost UK revealed that the Cabinet Office’s special Covid-19 Operations ministerial committee had initially scheduled a meeting on Saturday, with one agenda item titled: “Exemption: hunting and shooting.”
Johnson himself has written in the past that he “loved” foxhunting with dogs, once writing in the Spectator of the “semi-sexual relation with the horse” and the “military-style pleasure” of moving as a unit.