SIR Keir Starmer has defended his party's plans to support the Conservatives in a crucial vote tomorrow.

Speaking in a televised address this evening, the Labour leader said it was his party's 'patriotic duty' to back Boris Johnson's plans to bring in vaccine passports in England.

Sir Keir has come under scrutiny from some within his party for appearing too soft on the Government, and failing to hold it to account.

He failed to call for the Prime Minister to resign yesterday, despite repeated allegations of coronavirus rule breaking against him as well as claims he lied over the funding of his luxury flat renovations

The Labour leader addressed the nation this evening in response to Mr Johnson's broadcast last night.

In the pre-recorded speech, he said he would continue holding Mr Johnson's government to account, and urged people to get their booster vaccination.

He said: "Christmas is a time for family, for friends and for neighbours.

"To be with them, yes, but also to care for them and protect them.

This Christmas, once again, we are at a critical moment in our fight against Covid.

"The new variant - Omicron - is spreading fast and the argument that we don’t know enough about it doesn’t stack up.

"We may not be certain how dangerous it is but we do know that lives are at risk, and again our NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed.

"If that happens more people will die so we must do everything that we can to protect the NHS."

The leader of the opposition then went on to explain why his party were supporting the government's Covid measures, while also taking a swipe at Boris Johnson over claims he broke coronavirus rules.

Mr Starmer said: "At times like this, we must all put the national interest first and play by the rules.

"Of course I understand that sticking to the rules can be inconvenient but stick to the rules we must.

"It would be easy to let the festivities we’ve all been looking forward to, divert us from our national duty.

"Getting jabbed, wearing masks and working from home if we can really will help prevent infections and help prevent the NHS being overwhelmed."

He urged people to get their booster vaccinations, and continued: "The health, safety and security of our nation and its people must always be the first priority.

"That’s why we will always support measures designed to protect public health - that includes the measures in Plan B.

"We are a patriotic party and it is our patriotic duty to vote for these measures to ensure that they go through.

"In doing so, we are supporting the NHS and supporting our country.

"But rest assured, I will still hold the Government to account in the coming weeks. That is also in the national interest.

"Meanwhile, I’m asking all of you to do your bit too.

"At this time we need leadership - leadership that the country can trust.

"It’s a big national effort and we all have our part to play.

"Get Britain boosted.

"Protect the NHS and save lives.

"And from my family to yours, I wish you a very happy Christmas."

The address comes after a poll released today by Iposos Mori found more people thought Sir Keir would be a more capable Prime Minister than Boris Johnson. 

The survey saw just 31 per cent of the 1005 people asked say they believed Mr Johnson was more capable, compared to 44% who said Sir Keir.

It puts Labour in the lead on this issue for the first time since 2008, when Gordon Brown lead over David Cameron.

The research was carried out between December 3 and 10 - before, during and after the allegations of parties came to a head in Downing Street.