Tory minister criticised by speaker during fiery debate on Covid-19 contracts

Jo Churchill in the house of commons

Tory minister Jo Churchill was reprimanded by the Speaker of the House for calling Labour MPs 'children' during a debate - Credit:

A Tory minister has been cautioned after calling Labour MPs "children" during a debate in the Commons.

Health and social care minister Jo Churchill was told to retract her statement by the Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Responding to Labour's questions over links between the Tory Party and companies hired to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Churchill said: "Our plan on PPE has been to stabilise the system and build resilience. This was outlined in the PPE strategy published on the 28th of September -"

But as Labour MPs began to talk over the minister, she blasted: "Children! Thank you."

The minister was immediately reprimanded by Sir Lindsay and apologised. 

Sir Lindsay said: "Ms Churchill, I think that's down to me. You carry on."

The minister replied: "Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I'm sorry, it's that old habit of being a mother of four."

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Shadow minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan asked why a company called Medpro was given £190 million in "government contracts" to produce PPE despite, as she alleges, it having "no previous experience" of doing so.

Allin-Khan said: "Reports have suggested that this company has substantial links to Conservative Party donors, so can the Secretary of State or the minister categorically assure the country that no Conservative Party donors are profiteering from the pandemic?"

Churchill replied: "We procure goods and services as I said to (Richard Thompson), we work with extreme urgency in accordance with procurement rules and Cabinet Office guidance.

"We are confident with our supply with four months of COVID-critical PPE and over 70% now manufactured in the UK providing UK businesses with jobs ensuring that all health and care providers have access to critical protective equipment needed to keep patients and staff safe."

Medpro has been contacted for comment.

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