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Tories won’t start wearing masks in Commons because they ‘know each other’, Jacob Rees-Mogg says

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Tory MPs will continue to refuse to wear masks in the Commons chamber because they “know each other” a defiant Jacob Rees-Mogg says.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, bowed to pressure for Conservative MPs to change their much-criticised stance – as he warned of tougher Covid restrictions if the public’s behaviour does not change.

But, just hours later, Mr Rees-Mogg told MPs: “The advice on crowded spaces is crowded spaces with people that you don’t know – we on this side know each other.”

The Commons Leader suggested MPs from other parties did not like “mixing”, adding: “We one this side have a more convivial, fraternal spirit – and are therefore following the guidance of Her Majesty’s Government.”

The comments came as Downing Street refused to say whether Boris Johnson would follow his own health secretary’s advice by wearing a face covering.

No 10 was blindsided by Mr Javid’s shift, at Wednesday’s press conference – given the health secretary has previously declined to wear a mask himself.

Faced with accusations of hypocrisy – after urging the public to wear masks in crowded spaces – Mr Javid conceded: “I think that’s a very fair point.”

But, ducking the question of whether Mr Johnson would wear them, his spokesman echoed Mr Rees-Mogg in telling journalists: “It remains the case that it’s a matter of personal judgment for all individuals on wearing a mask.

“We have very clear guidance which sets out that people are recommended to wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet.”

The spokesman stepped up the government’s war of words with NHS bosses and doctors’ leaders, again denying the pressure on the health services requires a shift to “Plan B’ now.

The British Medical Association has joined the NHS Confederation in insisting the restrictions – mask-wearing, vaccination to enter crowded venues and working from home – are needed immediately.

There are currently 95,000 hospital beds in the NHS, of which only 7,000 are occupied by Covid patients, while around 6,000 are available, No 10 said.

The spokesman also described a report that a Plan C is being prepared – to reintroduce limits on household mixing, if necessary – as “not accurate”.

Neither Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, not chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance has “formally” advised a move to Plan B, the spokesman said.



Tory MPs will continue to refuse to wear masks in the Commons chamber because they “know each other” a defiant Jacob Rees-Mogg says.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, bowed to pressure for Conservative MPs to change their much-criticised stance – as he warned of tougher Covid restrictions if the public’s behaviour does not change.

But, just hours later, Mr Rees-Mogg told MPs: “The advice on crowded spaces is crowded spaces with people that you don’t know – we on this side know each other.”

The Commons Leader suggested MPs from other parties did not like “mixing”, adding: “We one this side have a more convivial, fraternal spirit – and are therefore following the guidance of Her Majesty’s Government.”

The comments came as Downing Street refused to say whether Boris Johnson would follow his own health secretary’s advice by wearing a face covering.

No 10 was blindsided by Mr Javid’s shift, at Wednesday’s press conference – given the health secretary has previously declined to wear a mask himself.

Faced with accusations of hypocrisy – after urging the public to wear masks in crowded spaces – Mr Javid conceded: “I think that’s a very fair point.”

But, ducking the question of whether Mr Johnson would wear them, his spokesman echoed Mr Rees-Mogg in telling journalists: “It remains the case that it’s a matter of personal judgment for all individuals on wearing a mask.

“We have very clear guidance which sets out that people are recommended to wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet.”

The spokesman stepped up the government’s war of words with NHS bosses and doctors’ leaders, again denying the pressure on the health services requires a shift to “Plan B’ now.

The British Medical Association has joined the NHS Confederation in insisting the restrictions – mask-wearing, vaccination to enter crowded venues and working from home – are needed immediately.

There are currently 95,000 hospital beds in the NHS, of which only 7,000 are occupied by Covid patients, while around 6,000 are available, No 10 said.

The spokesman also described a report that a Plan C is being prepared – to reintroduce limits on household mixing, if necessary – as “not accurate”.

Neither Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, not chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance has “formally” advised a move to Plan B, the spokesman said.

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