Sajid Javid: Tory MPs should be wearing masks in parliament

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Most Tory MPs did not wear masks in the Commons on Wednesday. (Getty)

Sajid Javid has suggested Tory MPs should be wearing masks in the Commons as he warned further coronavirus restrictions are more likely if face coverings are avoided.

The health secretary said public figures “have a role to play to set an example”, hours after his colleagues packed into parliament for prime minister’s questions, largely without wearing face coverings.

During Wednesday’s Downing Street press conference, Javid said: “As I say, we’ve all got our role to play in this and we the people standing on this stage play our public roles as a secretary of state, as someone in the NHS, as the head of UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency).

“We also have a role to play to set an example as private individuals as well, I think that’s a very fair point and I’m sure a lot of people will have heard you.”

Watch: Sajid Javid says cases could hit 100,000 a day but England won't move to Plan B

Javid has so far resisted implementing Plan B for tackling COVID-19 this autumn, despite acknowledging cases could reach 100,000 per day.

Instead, he encouraged people to get their booster jabs, meet outside where possible and put on masks in crowded spaces.

But earlier in the day, unmasked Cabinet ministers surrounded Boris Johnson in the Commons for PMQs.

Most backbench Tories also shunned coverings in the packed chamber, with opposition MPs being far more likely to be wearing masks.

Read more:

Sajid Javid Urges Public To Meet Outdoors Amid Surge In Covid

Covid ‘Plan A’ isn’t working – but Sajid Javid is in no rush to implement ‘Plan B’

How many people have had a booster jab in England?

At the press conference, Javid said “it’s going to hit us all” if individuals do not take part in currently voluntary measures to tackle COVID-19, such as wearing masks.

He added: “And it would of course make it more likely we’re going to have more restrictions. Now we want to avoid those."

Labour Party MP Kim Leadbeater, and sister of Jo Cox, speaks in the chamber of the House of Commons, Westminster, as MPs gather to pay tribute to Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who died on Friday after he was stabbed several times during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Labour Party MPs are seen wearing masks as MPs gather to pay tribute to Conservative MP Sir David Amess. (Getty)

Javid also encouraged anyone who hasn't had their vaccine or booster jab to make an appointment.

When discussing COVID-19 variants, he said: “We need to be ready for what lies around the corner. This means our ongoing programme of booster jabs is so important.”

He added: “We’ll do what it takes to make sure that this pressure doesn’t become unsustainable and that we don’t allow the NHS to become overwhelmed.”

“This pandemic is not over. Thanks to the vaccination programme, yes the link between cases and hospitalisations and deaths has significantly weakened, but it’s not broken.”

The legal requirement for people to wear a face-covering in most indoor settings such as public transport, shops and hospitality ended on 19 July.