politics

Face mask chaos as confusing advice from ministers is blasted


CONFUSION over mask-wearing deepened today as a Tory row exploded over whether they’re needed.

Conservative MPs openly defied a plea from Health Secretary Sajid Javid to wear face coverings in the House of Commons, and a fellow Cabinet Minister publicly slapped him down.

Boris Johnson wears a mask on a visit to Northern Ireland yesterday

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Boris Johnson wears a mask on a visit to Northern Ireland yesterdayCredit: PA
Not many Tory MPs wear masks in the House of Commons chamber

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Not many Tory MPs wear masks in the House of Commons chamberCredit: PA

Government advice is for people to use masks in crowded settings, but it’s not a legal requirement.

Scenes of maskless Tory MPs and ministers including Boris Johnson crammed together in the Commons chamber prompted Mr Javid to urge them to lead by example.

But his clarion call fell on deaf ears and Conservative colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg publicly dismissed his concerns.

The Commons leader said you only have to wear masks “with people that you don’t know” and that because the Tories have a “convivial, fraternal spirit” they were ok”.

The position was thrown into further disarray when Tory vice-chair Andrew Bowie said MPs have a duty to “set the tone” by wearing masks.

This morning Care Minister Gillian Keegan was grilled on the chaos and stressed it was down to individual choice.

She told LBC: “As we get into winter and more people start coughing and spluttering I think many many more people will wear masks, but it is, as we’ve said an individual choice.”

Grilled if she agreed with Mr Rees-Mogg’s comments, Ms Keegan added: “No, I mean obviously Covid doesn’t doesn’t look at whether you get on with someone or not. It’s an infection.”

Ministers were blasted for sowing confusion and accused of “utter hypocrisy”.

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran stormed: “It is utter hypocrisy that the public are rightfully being advised to wear masks while Conservative MPs refuse to do so.

“Cases are skyrocketing and we are getting a feeling of groundhog day as Covid surges again ahead of winter.

“Conservative MPs and ministers have a duty to lead by example and take precautions to protect themselves, their colleagues and staff.”

Masks would be brought back as a legal mandate under the Government’s Plan B of contingency measures to blunt a winter spike.

Brits urged to wear face masks indoors again and take a lateral flow test before Christmas parties with fears of winter Covid spike

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