‘The pay is right’: Jacob Rees-Mogg defends 1% increase after nurse who treated Boris Johnson quits NHS

Watch: Jacob Rees-Mogg defends 1% rise for NHS workers – 'The pay is right'

Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended the government’s proposed 1% pay rise for NHS staff following the resignation of Jenny McGee, insisting: “The pay is right.”

McGee, the nurse who cared for Boris Johnson when he nearly died from coronavirus last year – and who was publicly thanked by the prime minister – has quit the NHS.

She cited the government’s controversial 1% pay rise offer and said Downing Street does not respect the profession.

Johnson evaded a question about her resignation at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson and Jenny McGee at a Downing Street reception in July last year celebrating 72 years of the NHS. McGee has quit, citing the 1% pay rise offer. (Andrew Parsons/Number 10 Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Boris Johnson and Jenny McGee at a Downing Street reception in July last year celebrating 72 years of the NHS. (Andrew Parsons/Number 10 Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

However, House of Commons leader Rees-Mogg was also asked about McGee at Thursday’s business questions in the chamber.

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire asked what Rees-Mogg had to say to McGee.

He said: “There is a 1% pay increase being given to nurses. And over the last year there are 56,900 more people working in the NHS.

“That is a real success, it shows the recruitment is right, and if the recruitment is right that usually indicates the pay is right."

McGee cared for Johnson in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London in April last year.

She told a Channel 4 documentary, The Year Britain Stopped, which will be broadcast on Monday: “We’re not getting the respect and now pay that we deserve. I’m just sick of it. So I’ve handed in my resignation.”

Read more:

3 things we learned about the Indian COVID variant on Wednesday

'Appalling': Tory MPs reject deadline to make tower block cladding safe within five years of Grenfell

In March, the government’s 1% pay rise recommendation for NHS staff in England sparked outrage. One poll suggested as much as 72% of the population thought it was too low.

At the time, Johnson defended the offer, saying: “Don’t forget that there has been a public sector pay freeze, we’re in pretty tough times.”

The NHS Pay Review Body is currently considering the recommendation and is set to report back to the government within the next 11 days.

Watch: Boris Johnson challenged over resignation of nurse who 'saved his life'