Desmond Swayne says he does not know why he needs to apologise

Desmond Swayne in the Hosue of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Desmond Swayne in the Hosue of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne has refused to apologise for telling vaccine sceptics to “persist” with their campaign against lockdown restrictions, arguing he was unaware of their position on jabs.

After being told to apologise by Cabinet minister Michael Gove, the New Forest West MP told the PA news agency: “I have always had a great deal of respect for Michael but I’m not sure precisely what I’m being asked to apologise for.

“I’m evangelical in my support for the vaccination programme.

“As for my complaints for masking and the use of data, I’m on the record, I’ve said all of those things in the House of Commons.

“My remarks to them on those subjects mirror what I’ve said in the House of Commons. I was completely unaware that any of them had any traction on anti-vaxx and no anti-vaxx entered into the conversation I had with them.”

He said he was telling the campaigners to “persist” in the campaign against restrictions, but insisted they should stick to the rules.

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