Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted he is not ‘spewing Covid’ into the Commons after being shamed for not wearing a mask.
The Commons Leader was among a handful of Tory MPs on the Government frontbench who didn’t wear a face covering during yesterday’s Budget statement.
Everyone except MPs was ordered to wear masks while on the parliamentary estate as infections continue to rise.
The measure applies to staff, contractors and visitors, but the Commons authorities said it could not compel MPs to wear masks as they are not deemed to be Parliament employees.
During the Budget, Boris Johnson wore a mask alongside other Cabinet members but Mr Rees-Mogg and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss did not.
The vast majority of MPs on the opposition benches have worn masks during the pandemic.
Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said: ‘It was good to see that yesterday almost all of the Cabinet took the Health Secretary’s advice to wear masks.
‘I do note the Leader of the House did not, he still spears to think that a fraternal and convivial spirit will protect him from Covid.’
Mr Rees-Mogg replied that masks were not compulsory in the workplace, according to guidance, but assured he had taken a lateral flow test.
He said: ‘Having taken one – I can assure her I have taken more than one over the weeks and months that have gone past – I am negative and therefore I am not going to be spewing Covid around this chamber, because I have taken a negative lateral flow test.’
He also accused Labour MPs of having gone ‘maskless’ during a party at their conference in Brighton in September.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘I would remind her of the Daily Mirror party at the socialists’ conference which I have heard more about since last week, that not only was it a maskless fest, where alcoholic beverages – which will be cheaper thanks to the marvellous budget yesterday – alcoholic beverages were imbibed, I hear there was dancing. Maskless dancing.’
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