Calls for health secretary Matt Hancock to apologise to Labour MP and serving A&E doctor

PUBLISHED: 10:28 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03 06 May 2020

Jonathan Ashworth calls for an apology from Matt Hancock for his response to Rosena Allin-Khan. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Jonathan Ashworth calls for an apology from Matt Hancock for his response to Rosena Allin-Khan. Photograph: Parliament TV.

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There have been calls for health secretary Matt Hancock to apologise to a Labour MP and serving A&E doctor after he criticised her ‘tone’ over coronavirus questioning.

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Rosena Allin-Khan refused to “watch her tone” after the health minister stood at the despatch box and criticised her framing of questions over coronavirus.

After taking questions from shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, Allin-Khan asked about the government’s failing testing strategy, which she said some believed was “costing lives”.

Shortly after, a tetchy sounding Hancock responded by issuing a warning to the Labour MP: “I welcome the honourable lady to her post as part of the shadow health team.

“I think she might do well to take a leaf out of the shadow secretary of state’s book in terms of tone.”

Rosena Allin-Khan speaks in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.Rosena Allin-Khan speaks in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Without a right to reply the shadow health minister took to Twitter to respond, writing: “I will not ‘watch my tone’ when dozens of NHS and care staff are dying unnecessarily. Families are being torn apart.”

After an outpouring of support for the MP, there were calls for Hancock to apologise to Allin-Khan for his own tone.

Shadow health secretary Ashworth took questions on the exchange on Good Morning Britain in which he joined the calls for an apology.

“The politician who got the tone wrong was Matt Hancock and he should graciously apologise to Rosena because Rosena is not only a brilliant politician and shadow health minister, she is also an A&E doctor on the frontline, and what she was bringing to the House of Commons yesterday was her direct experience of NHS staff on the frontline as they’re dealing with this horrific disease that is Covid-19.


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“And remember, NHS staff on the frontline are putting themselves at risk to care for us and our loved ones, so yes, putting tough questions to ministers is what we are supposed to do, and she shouldn’t be criticised or dismissed for that, and Matt Hancock should be thanking her for all she is doing on the front line for the NHS.”

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