Health minister attempts to calm Commons heckling with ‘children’ cry

A health minister labelled some MPs “children” as she tried to calm them while responding to concerns of Conservative Party donors potentially “profiteering” from Covid-19.

Jo Churchill said the “old habit of being a mother of four” was behind her response to heckling in the House of Commons.

The heckling came after questions by shadow health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan about a company called Medpro Limited. She said that the company was “given Government contracts worth over £190 million” yet had “no previous experience” of producing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Dr 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: “Our plan on PPE has to be to stabilise the system and build resilience – this was outlined in the PPE strategy published on 28 September.”

Responding to heckling from the Opposition, Ms Churchill said “Children, thank you!” After being pulled up by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, she added: “I’m sorry it is that old habit of being a mother of four.

“We procure goods and services as I said to (SNP MP Richard Thomson), 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% 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.”