The wife of a self-isolating Tory MP has accused a coronavirus-positive minister of “jeopardising” her family’s safety in a heated Twitter exchange.
Opera singer Nevena Bridgen, the wife of Andrew Bridgen, called out Nadine Dorries on Friday after the two MPs met last week. Dorries firmly denied the claim.
Nevena Bridgen asked Dorries – who confirmed on Tuesday she was coronavirus-positive – “why you did not tell them [Public Health England] that you sat next to my husband in a tea room”?
Dorries, who had been praising Public Health England, then hit back. She claimed Bridgen, the MP for North West Leicestershire was “on another table not close to me”.
Here is the exchange:
.@NadineDorries why you did not tell them that you set next to My husband Andrew Bridgen on Thursday in a tea room and that he can’t get the test now! I have the baby and a 75 years old mother https://t.co/8LPnW3pR7N were treated but no one is coming to help us! https://t.co/naAGejUIt2— Nevena Bridgen (@NevenaBridgen) March 13, 2020
Because, I did not sit next to your husband. He was in tea room when I walked in, on another table not close to me.— Nadine Dorries 🇬🇧 (@NadineDorries) March 13, 2020
He text me andtold me he had sat next to me, I was too ill to discuss but not sick enough not to know, that wasn’t true. I told him if he was worried, to call 111. https://t.co/WDaRiOvI6Z
Backbencher Bridgen said he went into self-isolation on Thursday following a lunch in the House of Commons tea room with Dorries, the health minister who subsequently became the first MP to be diagnosed with Covid-19.
He told the PA news agency on Thursday that he was awaiting a coronavirus test and said: “I have a cough and a cold but I am working via Skype and the telephone.”
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In a statement on Tuesday night, Dorries had said: “As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self-isolating at home.
“Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.”
Rachael Maskell, the Labour and Co-operative representative for York Central, also went into self-isolation this week after coming into contact with Dorries, who has said she is “over the worst of it”.
As of 9am on Thursday, there had been 590 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. Ten people have died.
The government subsequently escalated its response to the “delay” phase of its action plan, but ruled out banning large-scale public events and closing schools for the time being.
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt criticised the government’s response, with Boris Johnson’s official spokesman countering on Friday: “We are very clear where we take our advice from. That is from the chief scientific adviser and the chief medical officer.
“Our aim is to reduce the peak of the outbreak so the NHS will be in stronger state as the weather improves.”