Andrew Bridgen Has Tory Whip Removed For Comparing Covid Vaccine To The Holocaust

“Andrew Bridgen has crossed a line, causing great offence in the process," chief whip Simon Hart said.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images

Andrew Bridgen has been suspended as a Conservative MP after he referred to the Holocaust in a debate about Covid vaccines.

Tory chief whip Simon Hart said: “Andrew Bridgen has crossed a line, causing great offence in the process.

“Misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives. I am therefore removing the Whip from Andrew Bridgen with immediate effect, pending a formal investigation.”

Bridgen, the MP for North West Leicestershire, posted data on Twitter which claimed to list potential adverse effects of the Covid vaccines.

Bridgen has previously made disputed claims about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

Fact-checking charity Full Fact has issued a number of corrections to Bridgen’s claims.

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, called Bridgen’s comments “highly irresponsible and wholly inappropriate”.

Christian Wakeford, the Labour MP for Bury South who defected from the Conservatives, accused Bridgen of “fake news and scaremongering”.

And he added: “To invoke the Holocaust during the month of Holocaust memorial day is despicable.”

Following Bridgen’s suspension, father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley said the MP was “trespassing on dangerous ground”.

Bottomley, who is the vice chair of the APPG on Holocaust Memorial, told Times Radio: “Fact number one, vaccines against Covid are not crimes against humanity, they’re helping humanity.

“And secondly, anyone who brings the Holocaust in is actually trespassing on dangerous ground and on the hearts of lives and memories of many people who don’t have cousins because of the Holocaust, don’t have grandparents because of the Holocaust, and my advice to him is, consider what you’re saying. And don’t say it.”

He added: “I think that those who start talking against vaccines ought to learn their facts. And if they want to talk about things that aren’t factually true, they’re better off doing it in a bathroom without a microphone.”

Anneliese Doods, chair of the Labour Party, accused the prime minister of “delaying” action.

“For the Conservative Party to delay action until now demonstrates, yet again, Rishi Sunak’s weakness among his own MPs.

“Andrew Brigden has been spreading dangerous misinformation on Covid vaccines for some time now. He could have been disciplined weeks ago. “To invoke the Holocaust, as he did today, is utterly shameful, but it should never have reached this point.”

Will Moy, chief executive of Full Fact, accused Bridgen of putting “lives at risk for months by being enabled to peddle health misinformation in parliament”.

“It is right that the Conservative Party took action after Andrew Bridgen’s shameful comments online earlier today. But it is unacceptable that an MP has been allowed to repeatedly make dangerous, false claims about vaccines for months without consequence.

“Globally, we have seen what happens when we empower conspiracy theorists to spread dangerous health misinformation, which costs lives.

“Are the Conservative Party seriously going to consider endorsing an MP who behaves like this at the next election?”

Bridgen — who is currently serving a five-day suspension from parliament for breaching lobbying rules — has previously been urged to apologise and correct a number of claims he has made about Covid vaccines.

Last month he claimed during prime minister’s questions that mRNA Covid vaccines were not recommended for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding.

Full Fact responded by saying Bridgen’s claims about pregnant women and breastfeeding were incorrect, while Labour and the Lib Dems urged him to correct the record and apologise for peddling “dangerous” claims.

In response to Bridgen’s question, Rishi Sunak told MPs he believes “Covid vaccines are indeed safe and effective”, but added: “No vaccine, Covid or otherwise, will be approved unless it meets the UK regulator standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

“We have an independent body that JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) determines which age groups the vaccine is recommended for use in, and as part of the vaccination programme. And, of course, the ultimate decision will lie with parents.”


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