British Conservatives boot MP from party after anti-vax tweet misfires with Holocaust reference
Political rivals pounce after Andrew Bridgen posted: "As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust."
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British member of Parliament Andrew Bridgen has been suspended from the Conservative Party for tweeting on Wednesday: "As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust."
"For an MP to suggest that Covid vaccines are the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust is unconscionable," tweeted the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the country's largest Jewish communal organization.
Bridgen’s myriad political rivals were quick to seize on the backlash provoked by his misconceived attempt at framing vaccine safety issues to discredit his vaccine skepticism itself.
Bridgen has stood as a Conservative MP since 2010, when this current administration came to power. In that time, he has voted to oust every one of its leaders: David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. He was also a strong Brexiteer, so few in government would have been sad to see him go even before this latest incident.
"Andrew Bridgen has crossed a line, causing great offence in the process," declared the head of Conservative Party discipline, Chief Whip Simon Hart.
"As a nation we should be very proud of what has been achieved through the vaccine programme," Hart added. "The vaccine is the best defence against Covid that we have. Misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives. I am therefore removing the whip from Andrew Bridgen with immediate effect, pending a formal investigation."
There are now growing calls to bar Bridgen from ever being allowed to stand as an MP again.
"Mr Bridgen should be barred from standing for the Tories at the next election," said Lord Mann, who advises the government on antisemitism.
"He cannot claim that he didn't realise the level of offence that his remarks cause," he added.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned Bridgen’s remarks as "utterly unacceptable," telling the House of Commons 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."
Disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock — who resigned after being caught on CCTV having an adulterous affair with his aide Gina Coladangelo while forcing strict social-distancing laws on the rest of the population — attempted to regain some moral high ground by attacking Bridgen for his "disgusting, antisemitic, anti-vax conspiracy theories."
Bridgen’s comments were "deeply offensive" and "have no place in this House or in our wider society," Hancock added.
In response to his detractors, Bridgen has pointed out he had not in any way minimized the suffering caused by the Holocaust, let alone questioned its historical reality.
"My tweet of 11th of January was in no way antisemitic," Bridgen said in a video statement released on Thursday. "Indeed, it alluded to the Holocaust being the most heinous crime against humanity in living memory. Of course, if anyone is genuinely offended by my use of such imagery, then I apologise for any offence caused."
"I wholeheartedly refute any suggestion that I am racist," he said, "and currently I am speaking to a legal team who will commence action against those who have led the call suggesting that I am."
The now-suspended MP accused the government of actively looking to remove COVID vaccine dissenting MPs, and he declared he had received "huge support" for his claims.
In other tweets, Bridgen has suggested the high number of excess deaths in hospitals was a worldwide problem linked to vaccines. He also retweeted a cardiologist, Dr. Assem Malhotra, who said: "The BBC have been censoring things that are true on the Covid-19 vaccines. People will continue to be maimed and die until the mRNA shots are stopped."
As it was the Conservative Party that initiated the lockdowns and vaccine rollouts in the U.K., to have one of their own speak so strongly against them could prove very damaging to a party whose ratings are less than half that of the Labour opposition.
Yet on this issue Labour are siding with the Tory Government. Labour leader Keir Starmer's spokesman described suspending the whip as "the right thing to do." He also accused Bridgen of "whipping up anti-vax conspiracy theories."