UK: Tory MP Bridgen Loses Whip Over COVID Tweet

Britain's Conservative chief whip Simon Hart announced on Wednesday that MP Andrew Bridgen for North West Leicestershire has lost the party whip a few hours after he compared the use of COVID vaccines to the Holocaust in a now-deleted tweet.

UK: Tory MP Bridgen Loses Whip Over COVID Tweet
Image credit: PA Media [via The Guardian]

Facts

  • Britain's Conservative chief whip Simon Hart announced on Wednesday that MP Andrew Bridgen for North West Leicestershire has lost the party whip a few hours after he compared the use of COVID vaccines to the Holocaust in a now-deleted tweet.
  • Bridgen, who is currently serving a five-day suspension from the House of Commons for allegedly violating parliamentary rules on registering financial interests, will now sit as an independent while a formal investigation takes place.
  • The backbencher who has become a prominent anti-vaxxer in recent months, with dozens of tweets claiming the jab was harmful to people, wrote that the vaccine program was the "biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust," quoting a cardiologist.
  • This parallel with the Holocaust came alongside data posted by the libertarian Zero Hedge financial blog and news aggregator.
  • PM Rishi Sunak condemned Bridgen's comment at Prime Minister's Questions, deeming this linkage "utterly unacceptable" and expressing his resolve to eradicate anti-Semitism from British society.
  • Holocaust symbolism has often been used in anti-vaccine demonstrations, according to the annual report published last year by the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency, which voiced concern over an alleged "trivialization of the Holocaust."

Sources: Guardian, BBC News, Telegraph, Metro, Independent, and Times of Israel.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Sky. Not only is Bridgen's comparison deeply offensive, but it's also dangerously wrong and highly irresponsible as COVID vaccines have saved millions of lives — and could have avoided some 600K deaths if a World Health Organization target of vaccinating 40% of the global population before 2022 had been met. Ideological beliefs should play no role in scientific debates as the safety and efficacy of vaccines are tested rigorously in clinical trials.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by National. While Bridgen's comment was undoubtedly tone-deaf, his punishment for sharing the views of a cardiologist is disproportionate to his so-called crime. Although rare, there has been evidence of vaccine side effects, and individuals should be free to question the establishment, regardless of their political role. The MP has rightly deleted the tweet, and it's now time to focus on his alleged violation of parliamentary rules.

Predictions