This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Rees-Mogg apologises for comparing Brexit doctor to disgraced anti-vaxxer

Written by: | Published:

Jacob Rees-Mogg Mr Rees-Mogg's remarks prompted condemnation across the political spectrum

The leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg MP has been forced to apologise for comparing a doctor who warned of the deaths which could follow a no-deal Brexit to the disgraced anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield.

The row began on monday when David Nicholl, a consultant neurologist who was asked to advise the government on medicine shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit, called hardcore Brexiteer Mr Rees-Mogg’s radio show, and asked the MP “What level of mortality rate are you willing to accept in the light of a no-deal Brexit?”

Mr Rees-Mogg retorted by claiming plans were in place to fly medicines in, and calling Mr Nicholl, ‘deeply irresponsible’ for ‘trying to spread fear across the country’. But went further later in that day, telling the House of Commons. “I'm afraid it seems to me that Dr David Nicholl is as irresponsible as Dr Wakefield in threatening that people will die because we leave the European Union - what level of irresponsibility was that?’

The remarks caused outrage across the political spectrum, and prompted the Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies to write to Mr Rees-Mogg, which she then posted on Twitter ‘to express my sincere disappointment and show my support for doctors across the country, particularly @djnicholl.’

Mr Nicholl himself challenged Mr Rees-Mogg to repeat the remarks outside of the House of Commons where he would not be protected by parliamentary privilege, and thus could be sued for libel.

Finally on Thursday night, Mr Rees-Mogg issued a statement in which he said ‘I apologise to Dr Nicholl for the comparison with Dr Wakefield. I have the utmost respect for all of the country’s hardworking medical professionals and the work they do in caring for the people of this country.’

Andrew Wakefield first hit the headlines when he published research in the Lancet linking the MMR jab to autism, and causing the vaccination rate to plummet from 90% to 79%. However investigations revealed evidence of dishonesty and unethical practice, and he was struck off in 2010. However his ‘findings’ are still defended by some conspiracy theorists and populist politicians such as Donald Trump.



What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.