Responding to a question posed by Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan on Conservative Party donors profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic with the production of PPE, Health and Social Care Minister Jo Churchill said: “Our plan on PPE has been to stabilise the system and build resilience. This was outlined in the PPE strategy published on the 28th of September…”
But as MPs on the opposition benches could be heard speaking over the Minister, she blasted: “Children! Thank you.”
The comment caused Tory MPs to burst into laughter but Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was forced to reprimand the Tory Minister.
He said: “Ms Churchill, I think that’s down to me. You carry on.”
To which Ms Churchill replied: “Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
“I’m sorry, it’s that old habit of being a mother of four.”
Shadow health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan asked about a company called Medpro Limited which was “given Government contracts worth over £190 million” yet had “no previous experience” of producing PPE.
Ms Allin-Khan added: “Reports have suggested that this company has substantial links to Conservative Party donors, so can the Secretary of State or the minister categorically assure the country that no Conservative Party donors are profiteering from the pandemic?”
Ms Churchill replied: “We procure goods and services as I said to (Richard Thompson), we work with extreme urgency in accordance with procurement rules and Cabinet Office guidance.
“We are confident with our supply with four months of COVID-critical PPE and over 70 percent now manufactured in the UK providing UK businesses with jobs ensuring that all health and care providers have access to critical protective equipment needed to keep patients and staff safe.”
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Yesterday at his press conference we heard that Tier 1 has had very little effect and that the tiers must be strengthened.
“So can he confirm that it is the Government’s intention to impose a tougher set of restrictions on Tier 1 areas post this lockdown?”
Mr Hancock replied in the Commons: “It is too early to do the analysis that (Mr Ashworth) requests, but of course we remain vigilant.”
Mr Ashworth continued: “The ministers have promised us to give the NHS whatever it takes. Can he guarantee that the spending review will deliver the resources and beds and capacity to bring waiting lists down?”
Mr Hancock replied: “The good news is that we are managing to continue to drive through the backlog that understandably built up in the first peak and so I think that (Mr Ashworth), instead of attacking the NHS, should be backing the NHS and thanking them for the incredible hard work that the NHS are doing right now and will be doing over this winter.”