Health Minster Nadine Dorries forced to clarify lockdown comments after Twitter spat with Piers Morgan

Bedfordshire MP and Health minister Nadine Dorries has been embroiled in a Twitter spat with senior journalists over her comments on when lockdown might end.

Ms Dorries, has sought to clarify her suggestion that the "full lockdown" to tackle coronavirus could only be lifted once a vaccine was developed by insisting there could still be relaxation of the social-distancing.

Her comments - which caused confusion - appeared to suggest that restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19 could be in place for well over a year.

Ms Dorries, the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, triggered the row by saying journalists should stop asking about an "exit strategy" from the lockdown.

She rounded on ITV broadcaster Piers Morgan, who said her suggestion the UK would be in "full lockdown" until a vaccine was developed was an "astonishing break" from official Government statements.

Ms Dorries accused the Good Morning Britain presenter of a "ridiculousinterpretation" of her words, adding "it would be more helpful to talk about'relaxing lockdown' than constantly demanding an 'exit strategy'."

She later added "there is more than one lockdown". That could be "full, orthe introduction of a relaxation/easement strategy - eventually (leading) to afull exit".

As Sky News presenter Kay Burley suggested that Ms Dorries "misspoke", the minister said: "I say it as it is. I speak in politics as I do in life. If I need to apologise, I won't hesitate. I really did not misspeak."

Ms Dorries contracted Covid-19 and subsequently recovered.

She spoke about her reaction when she found out she was positive for the coronavirus.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the row triggered by Ms Dorries' comments showed the need for greater clarity from the Government.