Tory minister stands by husband after he claimed coronavirus is a ‘mental illness’

Chloe Smith and Sandy McFadzean. Photograph: Bill Smith

Chloe Smith and Sandy McFadzean. Photograph: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant � 2012

A Conservative minister has stood by her husband after he claimed that coronavirus is a 'mental illness', but has said that she holds a different view.

Sandy McFadzean, who married Norwich North MP Chloe Smith in 2013, attended last weekend's march against coronavirus restrictions.

He has previously retweeted posts describing the government as 'globalist puppets' and 'tyrants', the Eastern Daily Press has reported.

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A poster for the Unite For Freedom March, held in London on Saturday, called for an end to social distancing, track and trace, and the use of face masks.

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McFadzean, who is employed by Credit Suisse as a vice president, wrote on Twitter: 'Covid-19 is most likely an outbreak of mental illness.'

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A further post read: 'Government need to be clear.

'Either there is a killer virus on the loose or there isn't. (Spoiler alert: There isn't).'

The Twitter account was deleted on Wednesday after the newspaper tried to contact the minister for comment.

Chloe Smith initially did not provide a comment for the story, but eventually said that he was entitled to his opinions, and that she held a differing view.

She told the paper: 'My husband's a private citizen. Everyone's entitled to their own view, and to debate. I take a different view.'

The Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution changed her Twitter account name during the pandemic to reflect the government's policy, Stay Alert Save Lives.

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, said: 'There's absolutely no way I'd hold anyone responsible for the views of their partner.

'However, if my partner was spouting forth Covid conspiracy, anti-vaccination nonsense, it is very likely the subject might come up for discussion at some point over tea.'

Councillor Natasha Harpley, leader of Broadland Labour Group, tweeted: 'Chloe Smith is not her husband's keeper but wow, how embarrassing.

'What an insult to the 1000s who have died & those experiencing actual mental ill health.

'I hope his ignorance hasn't compromised the health of both her & those she meets whilst carrying out MP duties.'

The Conservative Party has not responded to requests for comment and nor did Credit Suisse.

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