Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemns Ashby MP following 'Covid mis-information' and 'Holocaust' comments

By Ashby Nub News Reporter

12th Jan 2023 | Local News

Rishi Sunak criticised Andrew Bridgen's comment. Photo: Rishi Sunak's PR team
Rishi Sunak criticised Andrew Bridgen's comment. Photo: Rishi Sunak's PR team

By Sam Moorhouse

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used PMQs yesterday (Wednesday) to condemn comments made by Ashby de la Zouch MP Andrew Bridgen.

It was announced yesterday (January 11) that the North West Leicestershire MP had been suspended from the Conservative party whip, after claiming on Twitter that Covid-19 vaccines are the "biggest crime against humanity since the holocaust".

During the parliamentary session, former Health secretary Matt Hancock labelled Mr Bridgen's comments as "disgusting, anti-Semitic, anti-vax, conspiracy theories" and that they were "deeply offensive and anti-scientific".

In response, the PM condemned the comments made and labelled Mr Bridgen's words as "utterly unacceptable".

Mr Sunak said: "Obviously, it is utterly unacceptable to make linkages and use language like that, and I'm determined that the scourge of anti-Semitism is eradicated.

"It has absolutely no place in our society. And I know that the previous few years have been challenging for the Jewish community, and I never want them to experience anything like that ever again."

Various politicians and charities have come out to condemn Mr Bridgen's words following his suspension.

Will Moy, Chief Executive of Full Fact, an independent charity which battles misinformation, said: "Andrew Bridgen has put lives at risk for months by being enabled to peddle health misinformation in Parliament.

"It is right that the Conservative Party took action after Andrew Bridgen's shameful comments online earlier today. But it is unacceptable that an MP has been allowed to repeatedly make dangerous, false claims about vaccines for months without consequence.

"Globally, we have seen what happens when we empower conspiracy theorists to spread dangerous health misinformation, which costs lives.

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen

"Are the Conservative Party seriously going to consider endorsing an MP at the next election who behaves like this?"

Anneliese Dodds, Chair of the Labour Party, has criticised the Government for not disciplining Mr Bridgen sooner.

She said: "For the Conservative Party to delay action until now demonstrates, yet again, Rishi Sunak's weakness among his own MPs.

"Andrew Bridgen has been spreading dangerous misinformation on Covid vaccines for some time now.

"He could have been disciplined weeks ago.

"To invoke the Holocaust, as he did today, is utterly shameful, but it should never have reached this point."

The MP has already come under recent fire and is currently serving a five-day suspension from the House of Commons for breaching lobbying rules.

It was found that he should have told ministers and officials about his relationship with Cheshire-based firm Mere Plantations who had made several donations to him and helped fund a visit to Ghana.

Micheal Mullaney, Leader of the Leicestershire County Council Liberal Democrats, said: "Six million Jewish people and six million people from other minorities were slaughtered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

"Whatever concerns he has about vaccines, for a Leicestershire Tory MP to compare vaccines to the Holocaust and the murder of millions of Jewish people and other minorities was appalling.

"Here in Leicestershire our public services are among the worst funded in the country.

"We miss out on the quality public services that many other areas get. When we have Tory MPs like Mr Bridgen in place it's no wonder the Tory government ignore our area and provide us with such a poor level of services."

     

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