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Labour demands apology from Matt Hancock for telling frontbencher doing shifts in A&E to watch her ‘tone’ on coronavirus strategy

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan is a qualified A&E doctor.

2 min read

Matt Hancock is facing calls to apologise after he told a shadow minister who works in accident and emergency to consider her “tone”.

The Health Secretary hit back at Dr Rosena-Allin Khan after she claimed the Government’s coronavirus testing strategy had “cost lives”.

The shadow health minister - a qualified accident and emergency doctor who does stints at St George’s Hospital in south London - said frontline NHS staff had “had to watch families break into pieces as we deliver the very worst of news to them”.

And she said: "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.”

But Mr Hancock shot back: "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.

"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."

"I will not 'watch my tone' when dozens of NHS and care staff are dying unnecessarily" - Rosena Allin-Khan

Speaking after the exchange, which came at health questions in the Commons, Dr Allin-Khan said: “I will respectfully challenge the Government - I want our country to succeed.

“However, I will not 'watch my tone' when dozens of NHS and care staff are dying unnecessarily.”

Fellow frontbenchers meanwhile rallied around Dr Allin-Khan following her clash with the Health Secretary.

Shadow culture minister Alison McGovern said: “I think the words he was looking for are, 'thank you for your service’.”

And Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy said the Cabinet minister “should apologise” for the response to a “perfectly factual question”.

He added: “This is no way for the Health Secretary to speak to a serving A&E doctor.”

Shadow Home Office minister Jess Phillips tweeted: “Her tone was fine, respectful, and might I dare say her view is more knowledgeable about the front line than the Health Secretary.

"Can't imagine why he doesn't like her "tone". (obviously I can well imagine).”

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