06/05/2020 17:01 BST

Rosena Allin-Khan Responds To Matt Hancock After 'Tone Policing' Row

The health secretary had told the Labour MP, a serving A&E doctor, to take a leaf out of her colleague's book.

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Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan said said she does not “want or need” an apology from Matt Hancock, after the health secretary told her to change her “tone”.

Hancock triggered a backlash yesterday when he criticised the shadow mental health minister, who is a serving A&E doctor, for the way she asked questions in the Commons.

Allin-Khan had warned the government’s coronavirus testing strategy had “cost lives”.

Writing for HuffPost UK today, Allin-Khan said she “didn’t expect him to try to police my tone of voice”.

“As an MP and as a doctor, I have a duty to ask the government the kind of questions the frontline are asking. If my colleagues feel a lack of testing has cost lives, I will ask about that,” she said.

“I’m not here to make this personal. I don’t want or need an apology from Matt Hancock for critiquing my tone.

“The only thing I want is the government to fulfil its duty of care to the NHS and healthcare staff and support them through this crisis.”

She added: “Medics who are delivering this tragic news day after day are seeing the startling effects of this virus, and the effects of the government strategy first-hand.”


Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Allin-Khan told Hancock: “Frontline workers like me have had to watch families break into pieces as we deliver the very worst of news to them, that the ones they love most in this world have died.

“The testing strategy has been non-existent. Community testing was scrapped, mass testing was slow to roll out and testing figures are now being manipulated.”

The MP for Tooting, who has been working in a hospital in her constituency during the coronavirus outbreak, added: “Many frontline workers feel that the government’s lack of testing has cost lives and is responsible for many families being unnecessarily torn apart in grief.”

Hancock told Allin-Khan she “might do well to take a leaf out of the shadow secretary of state’s book in terms of tone”.

“I’m afraid what she said is not true. There’s been a rapid acceleration in testing over the last few months including getting to 100,000 tests a day,” he added.

The health secretary had earlier welcomed the “responsible and reasonable” manner in which Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, had asked questions.

Boris Johnson today set a new “ambition” for creating the capacity for 200,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month.