Politics

Nursing leaders slam Tory MP for ‘demoralising’ defence of Boris Johnson


Nursing leaders have hit out at MP Michael Fabricant for his suggestion that nurses might have broken Covid laws as prime minister Boris Johnson did.

The PM, his wife Carrie Johnson and Rishi Sunak have paid fines imposed by police over a party held on 19 June 2020 to mark Mr Johnson’s 56th birthday.

Mr Fabricant said on Tuesday: “I don’t think at any time he thought he was breaking the law… he thought just like many teachers and nurses who after a very long shift would go back to the staff room and have a quiet drink”.

The Royal College of Nursing has written to Mr Fabricant complaining about his “utterly demoralising” and “factually incorrect” to suggest nursing would break the law.

Conservative backbencher Nigel Mills has since become the first Tory MP to suggest the prime minister should resign.

He said on Wednesday: “I don’t think the PM can survive or should survive breaking the rules he put in place … He’s been fined, I don’t think his position is tenable.”

In a letter responding to Mr Fabricant RCN general secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen, said: “As frontline professionals, still dealing with the implications of the pandemic – understaffed, underpaid, overworked, exhausted, burnt out and still holding it together while doing the best we can for our patients.

“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.”

The letter added: “We remain at the forefront of pandemic response. Despite political narrative, as health and care professionals we know the Covid-19 context is nowhere near over.”

“Throughout the pandemic – and still certainly, now – most days, nurses and nursing support workers, when finally finishing a number of unpaid hours well past shift end, will get home, clean their uniforms, shower and collapse into bed.”

Throughout the early pandemic, this was often alone, for the protection of others – kept away from family, friends and support networks.”

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