Jacob Rees-Mogg rules out health secretary apologising to Labour MP and serving A&E doctor

Jacob Rees-Mogg during a debate in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Jacob Rees-Mogg during a debate in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

There is no need for the health secretary to apologise to a Labour frontbencher when he criticised her 'tone', the Commons leader has said.

Matt Hancock in the House of Commons

Matt Hancock in the House of Commons - Credit: Parliament Live

Jacob Rees-Mogg was asked to apologise on behalf of Matt Hancock after he encouraged Labour's shadow health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan to adopt a less adversarial 'tone' in Commons exchanges.

She clashed with Hancock and said some frontline workers believe that the government's coronavirus testing strategy had 'cost lives'.

Hancock rejected Dr Allin-Khan's assessment on testing and said she 'might do well to take a leaf out of the shadow secretary of state's book in terms of tone'.

Hancock has previously congratulated his opposite number shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth for his collegiate 'tone' while chastising other MPs, including Labour stalwart Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, when he believed they were taking an unfriendly 'tone' during their exchanges.

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Dr Allin-Khan later took to Twitter and said she would not 'watch her tone' when challenging the government.

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz called for an apology on Wednesday during the weekly business statement.

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Rees-Mogg refused and said the comment made by Hancock was part of the normal 'cut and thrust' of political debate.

He told MPs: 'I think the health secretary is doing a simply magnificent job.

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'I think we are very lucky to have somebody who has shown such a personal commitment and effort and hard work in the job he has done, and in minimising and dealing with the effects of this terrible and unexpected, unprecedented crisis.

'Therefore, I am not going to ask him to apologise and I'm going to say in the cut and thrust of debate people are entitled to say things, and that that is perfectly legitimate.'

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