Merk argiewe: attackChris

Demand for apology from Tory MP after ‘outrageous’ attack on Chris Whitty

Demand for apology from Tory MP after ‘outrageous’ attack on Chris Whitty
Chief medical officer should ‘defer’ to Boris Johnson on omicron guidance, says Joy Morrissey

Labour is demanding an apology after a Conservative MP said that chief medical officer Chris Whitty should “defer” to Boris Johnson over advice on Covid precautions over the Christmas period.

Joy Morrissey, who is a parliamentary aide in the Ministry of Justice, hit out after Prof Whitty said people should “deprioritise” unnecessary social gatherings, at a time when the prime minister insists he is not ordering the cancellation of Christmas parties.

In a hastily-deleted tweet branded “outrageous” by Labour, the Beaconsfield MP suggested that the chief medical officer’s comments suggested the UK was turning into a “public health socialist state”.

“Perhaps the unelected covid public health spokesperson should defer to what our ELECTED Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister have decided,” wrote the parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab.

“I know it’s difficult to remember but that’s how democracy works. This is not a public health socialist state.”

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said that the comment was “extremely poorly-judged”.

“It is outrageous to see a government PPS attacking the chief medical officer in this way," hy het gesê. “She should apologise and withdraw this immediately.

“Chris Whitty has never disputed where policy is madehe makes this point repeatedly. Listen, don’t silence.

“The chief medical officer and every health and care worker in the country deserves our full support. Their only motivation is helping us.”

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, Prof Whitty said that he expected people would “deprioritise” non-essential gatherings to ensure being able to enjoy the most important events, which for most will be Christmas Day with family.

“I really think people should be prioritising those thingsand only those thingsthat really matter to them," hy het gesê. “Because otherwise the risk of someone getting infected at something that doesn’t really matter to them and then not being able to do the things that do matter to them obviously goes up.”

Chris Whitty and Boris Johnson at Wednesday’s press conference

Intussen, the NHS medical director of primary care, Dr Nikki Kanani, told the press conference: “My advice would be if you’re going to go to a stadium at the weekend, make it one where you can get your vaccine or help out to give a vaccine rather than going to watch a match.”

The government has mandated Covid passes for fans attending sports fixtures with crowds of 10,000 of meer, but has not advised supporters to stay away from the full roster of Premiership and Championship football matches and other sporting events due to take place this weekend.

Standing alongside Whitty and Kanani, Mr Johnson insisted that the government is not telling people to avoid Christmas parties, pubs and restaurantsonly advising them to “think carefully” about measures they could take to minimise the risk of infection.

“We’re not cancelling events,” said the PM. “We’re not closing hospitality. We’re not cancelling people’s parties or their ability to mix.

“What we are saying is, jy weet, think carefully before you go. What kind of event is it? Are you likely to meet people who are vulnerable? Get a test, make sure there is ventilation, wear a mask on transport.”