Andrew Bridgen vows to ‘continue to ask questions’ about Covid vaccines after Tory suspension
Andrew Bridgen, who was stripped of the Tory whip after appearing to compare Covid-19 vaccines with the Holocaust, has apologised for any offence caused but said he would “continue to ask” questions about the safety of the jabs.
In a video statement posted on YouTube, the North West Leicestershire MP said that he was not antisemitic or racist as he defended his language about the safety of coronavirus vaccines.
On Wednesday, he tweeted an article questioning their safety, adding: “As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.”
His tweet was criticised from all sides, and Chief Whip Simon Hart withdrew the Tory whip.
Mr Sunak in the Commons called the comments “utterly unacceptable” while Mr Hart said that he took action because the remarks “crossed a line”.
Mr Bridgen, in his first comments since the suspension, said he was “disappointed” by the decision as he appeared to accuse the Government of actively removing MPs who raise questions about coronavirus vaccines.
"My tweet of the 11th of January was in no way antisemitic. Indeed, it alluded to the Holocaust being the most heinous crime against humanity in living memory," he said.
"Of course, if anyone is genuinely offended by my use of such imagery, then I apologise for any offence caused.
"I wholeheartedly refute any suggestions that I am racist and currently I’m speaking to a legal team who will commence action against those who have led the call suggesting that I am.”
He told viewers that he would “continue to ask” questions about the vaccine, adding: “If I cannot do that as a Conservative member of Parliament, then so be it.”
Mr Bridgen said that his suspension “says much about the current state of our democracy, the right to free speech and the apparent suspension of the scientific method of analysis of medicines being administered to billions of people”.
“As I’ve consistently maintained, there are very reasonable questions to be asked about the safety and effectiveness of the experimental mRNA vaccines and the risks and benefits of these treatments.“
"There are reasonable questions to ask of a Government that is considering extending the use of these experimental vaccines to children as young as six months of age,” he claimed.
"There are reasonable questions about the side effects of mRNA vaccines,” he said, adding that “the current risk of harm to most of the population, and especially young people, from Covid-19 is miniscule”.
Mr Bridgen is currently suspended from the Commons after he was found to have displayed a “very cavalier” attitude to the rules in a series of lobbying breaches.
MPs agreed at the start of the week to suspend Mr Bridgen for five sitting days from Tuesday.
The Prime Minister told MPs on Wednesday: “Obviously it is utterly unacceptable to make linkages and use language like that and I’m determined that the scourge of antisemitism is eradicated.”
Mr Hart also said: “Andrew Bridgen has crossed a line, causing great offence in the process."
As a nation, we should be very proud of what has been achieved through the vaccine programme. The vaccine is the best defence against Covid that we have.”