Conservative former health secretary Sajid Javid has spoken of his anger that Andrew Bridgen or any MP would “seek to connect” the UK’s Covid vaccine policy with the Holocaust.
Mr Bridgen lost the Conservative whip earlier this month for tweeting an article questioning the safety of the vaccines and adding “this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust”.
Mr Javid, who served as health secretary between June 2021 and July 2022, a crucial time for the vaccine rollout, hit out at Mr Bridgen in the House of Commons during a debate to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Mr Javid told the Commons: “In this debate, we should all reflect on our roles as policymakers, because we know the sickening pattern of atrocities all too well.
“We are right to reaffirm our commitment to ‘never again’, but we must also as parliamentarians do more to prepare the political foundations and the policy framework to prevent the next atrocity.
“Our commitment to the truth must also be reinforced at home, including in how we counter misinformation and conspiracy theories.”
Mr Javid, who secured the debate, added: “Right now in the UK, we have seen a rise in anti-vaccine protesters carrying signs reading ‘vaccine holocaust’ and wearing the Star of David. I must say, it does anger me that any member of this House would seek to connect the Holocaust with UK public health policy.”
MPs across the chamber could be heard to say “hear, hear” as Mr Javid appeared to condemn Mr Bridgen.
Mr Bridgen caused widespread outrage when he retweeted an article questioning the safety of vaccines, with the MP adding: “As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.”
Although Mr Bridgen lost the Tory whip, he remains an MP.
Earlier on Thursday Mr Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, said he is threatening to sue Matt Hancock, another Conservative former health secretary, because of comments Mr Hancock made in response to the tweet.
Mr Bridgen had already threatened legal action against Mr Hancock, tweeting that he would “allow Matt three days to apologise publicy [sic] for calling me an antisemite and racist or he will be contacted by my legal team”.
But he then tweeted on Thursday: “I can confirm that Matt Hancock had a legal letter before action from Bad Law Team on my behalf regarding defamation on Monday.”
Mr Bridgen has said that he is not antisemitic while also defending his language about the safety of coronavirus vaccines.
In the days after the original tweet, Mr Bridgen denied being a racist and said he was “speaking to a legal team who will commence action against those who have led the call suggesting that I am”.
A spokesperson for Mr Hancock said: “What Matt said was obviously not libellous and he stands by his comments.”