Tory backbencher told he's 'living in cloud cuckoo land' over back-to-school plan

Tory MP Tom Hunt (L) and Labour's Chris Bryant (R) on BBC 2's Politics Live

Tory MP Tom Hunt (L) and Labour's Chris Bryant (R) on BBC 2's Politics Live - Credit: BBC

A Tory backbencher has been accused of "living in cloud cuckoo land" after suggesting schools might reopen by the end of February.

Labour's Chris Byrant accused Tom Hunt MP of ignoring the fact that there were not enough vaccines in circulation to inoculate teachers before the end of April.

Speaking on Politics Live, Hunt said: "I don't think we should be waiting for the second dose. I think we do know that one dose provides a significant amount of protection and I think the damage from school closures are such that I think we can get the first dose done."

Bryant cut in: "Tom, I think you're misunderstanding me about the second dose. The priority lot - the people who are getting done now are getting their second dose on the 10th and 11th of April, so, you're not even going to finish the first four priority lots without a second dose, which they have to have otherwise we've wasted all our time and effort on this, until the middle of April.

"So, if you're waiting to open schools for vaccinations to start for teachers, schools are not going to be opening up at all until May. 

"We've got to have a much better strategy about re-opening schools."

Hunt replied: "We know that once the priority groups are covered, we do know there's likely to be a discussion about any groups that might need to be prioritised; and I think teachers will be at the top of that list.

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"And I feel confident that we can get to a place where all teaching staff are vaccinated before the end of February and I think that once we're in that place, we should be looking to get schools reopened again.

Bryant, visibly aghast, responds: "You're in cloud cuckoo land, you're in cloud cuckoo land."

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