Thu, 13 June 2024

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Parliament Unwrapped: What did the 2019-2024 Parliament mean for workers’ health, safety, and wellbeing? Partner content
Five-point manifesto to support people and families living with obesity Partner content
This is manifestly the moment for dementia to be made a priority Partner content
Soaring dementia care costs reach £42 billion in UK – and families bear the brunt Partner content
An international call to G7 leaders for financial commitments to fight neglected tropical diseases Partner content
By Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Press releases

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).”

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe


Coronavirus Health
Partner content
Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

Find out more