Labour MP accuses Tory ministers of flouting social distancing and ‘invading his space’

·2-min read
Labour MP Chris Bryant outside the Houses of Parliament in London ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivering a statement in the House of Commons on his new Brexit deal after the EU Council summit, on what has been dubbed "Super Saturday". (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Labour MP Chris Bryant has criticised Tory ministers for not social distancing. (Getty Images)

A Labour MP has accused Tory ministers of flouting social distancing rules by slapping him on the back in Parliament.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who represents Rhondda in Wales, said Conservative politicians were “invading his space” and standing too close to him in the House of Commons.

He made the allegations during an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday.

Bryant told presenter Emma Barnett: “I see this in Parliament at the moment. Tory MPs, everywhere, flouting all the social distancing rules.

“Slapping you on the back, standing immediately next to you, the number of times I’ve had to say to Tory MPs, ‘I’m sorry could you please back off.’”

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In this handout photo provided by UK Parliament, Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle looks on as Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks, during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via AP)
Chris Bryant said there was a lack of social distancing in Parliament. (Getty)

Bryant refused to name the ministers who had allegedly flouted rules.

But he did criticise Boris Johnson for allegedly not following hygiene guidance at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said Labour MPs adhered to social distancing rules better than their Conservative colleagues.

Bryant added: “My experience is that Labour MPs are much keener on maintaining that distance.

“I’ve only ever been slapped on the back by Tory MPs, including government ministers.

“I have said to several government ministers ‘please back off’.”

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves number 10 Downing Street, to attend Prime Minister's Questions at the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. British Treasury chief Rishi Sunak on Wednesday is set to announce a 2-billion-pound ($2.5 billion) program to create jobs for young people as the government tries to revive an economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Bryant criticised Boris Johnson for allegedly not following hygiene guidance at the beginning of the outbreak. (AP)

Bryant pointed to the decision to allow in-person voting in the Commons on Tuesday night as proof Tories were not taking social distancing as seriously as Labour MPs.

He said masks should be used during votes because it was hard to maintain a distance in the lobbies.

Bryant added: “There are other MPs who are not coming to Parliament any more because that’s been happening.”

He also claimed staff at the Commons tea room had complained that Tory MPs were not social distancing and had been moving chairs to sit next to each other.

The Conservative Party has been approached for comment.

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