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Minister refuses to say if Swayne should lose Tory whip over coronavirus remarks

Tory MP Desmond Swayne in the House of Commons - Credit: Parliament TV

A Tory minister has refused to say if one of their MPs should lose the whip for “completely out of order” comments about Covid-19 statistics.

Swayne was interviewed by a US anti-vaccine campaigner and urged an anti-lockdown group to persist with their efforts, suggesting official data should not be trusted.

He said he is a “most enthusiastic vaccinator” but has been a frequent critic of the government’s lockdown measures and told US anti-vaxxer Del Bigtree that the UK has become “a police state”.

He accused the government of attempting to implement “social control” through actions such as the mandatory wearing of face masks.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said that Swayne should apologise, but refused to be drawn on whether he should lose the Tory whip.

He said: “Sir Desmond is wrong.

“I work with Sir Desmond, I have great affection for him, but I’m afraid here he is completely out of order.”

He added: “I would hope that he issues a full and complete retraction and apology for what he said – it’s unacceptable.”

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