A medical doctor and leading Union have spoken out after comments made by Michael Fabricant MP. Mr Fabricant said that teachers and nurses ‘had a drink’ after work during the Covid pandemic in an apparent bid to defend Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister has paid a Fixed Penalty Notice issued by the Metropolitan Police following an investigation into many parties held at Number 10 as the country was in lockdown.
After calling for the Prime Minister to apologise during a TV interview, Michael Fabricant MP said:
“Having said that, I don’t think that at any time he thought that he was breaking the law.
“I think that at the time, he [Boris Johnson] thought just like many teachers and nurses who after a very very long shift would tend to go back to the staff room and have a quiet drink”
In an open letter addressed to Mr Fabricant MP, the Joint Secretaries for the National Education Union said:
“Your Prime Minister has been fined by the police for breaking the law. It is inconceivable that he has not misled Parliament.
“But in your shallow attempt to defend your party leader, you have cast a slur over every teacher and nurse in the country.
“These professionals are hard-working public servants – they followed COvid restrictions throughout the pandemic in an attempt to keep themselves, their families and their patients or pupils safe.
“To suggest otherwise is disgraceful – casually damaging the reputations of hundreds of thousands of teachers and nurses.
“You have caused immense anger amongst school, college and hospital staff. You should withdraw the comments and apologise immediately.”
The letter was dated 13th April and signed by Joint General Secretary Mary Boulsted and Kevin Courtney.
Dr Ben White, a medical doctor tweeted:
‘Absolutely nobody I knew in the NHS had routine gatherings or drinks after work during covid restrictions.
‘We left exhausted, stripped, showered, terrified we might pass something on, ate, stayed in and slept.
‘Day off meant a solo walk in the park. Rinse & repeat
‘In a hotly contested field, this is one of the worst things they have ever said.
‘Nurses had it particularly bad. It was absolutely awful.
‘There was no let up, no parties, no during or after work drinks. People often couldn’t even access the staff room.’
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said she wanted to complain to the MP and also sent a copy of her letter to party chairman Oliver Dowden.
Ms Cullen criticised the MP’s comments and said nurses and nursing support staff would “get home, clean their uniforms, shower and collapse into bed” rather than “have a quiet one in the staff room”.
“It is utterly demoralising – and factually incorrect – to hear you suggest that our diligent, safety critical profession, can reasonably be compared to any elected official breaking the law, at any time,” she said.
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