Both York MPs rebel and vote against mandatory NHS jabs for staff – One resigns from a frontbench post
Both Labour’s Rachael Maskell and Conservative Julian Sturdy rebelled against their respective party leaderships tonight and voted against making Covid vaccines mandatory for frontline NHS staff.
Ms Maskell gave up her shadow ministerial post in Labour’s digital, culture, media and sport team to vote against.
It passed in the House, with a majority of 285 – 385 voted in favour and 100 against.
However 61 Conservative MPs opposed it, and so did 22 Labour MPs.
Meanwhile, 98 Conservative MPs defied the whip to vote against the introduction of mandatory Covid passes to access nightclubs and large venues – the biggest rebellion against Prime Minister Boris Johnson to date.
Ms Maskell voted in favour of that – but Mr Sturdy rebelled again on this issue.
Rachael Maskell, the MP for York Central, had this to say about the issue of mandatory vaccination when speaking to YorkMix Radio: “Well, the whole NHS is really under so much pressure at the moment, it really is getting ready for a bad winter.
“Therefore, this evening, I could not vote for staff to be forced to have vaccines, which for some people will mean that they will leave the service.
“Mandatory vaccinations have a bad impact on NHS staff, instead of giving people space for a supportive conversation with somebody who is trained to help answer people’s questions, all it does is alienate them.
“Many staff are frightened at this time, they’ve worked really hard, but they’re worried about having a vaccine, particularly if they haven’t had their first jab.
“And what I would say to everybody is they just need to have that conversation but to force people and then to say to them, that you’re going to be sacked if you don’t is the wrong approach, especially as these are the people that we were clapping and it seems now that the government wants to sack.”
Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer says: “I also voted against mandatory vaccination for frontline NHS workers by April 2022, having carefully considered the arguments and available facts.
“Given over 90% of frontline health service staff are already vaccinated, it strikes me as unnecessary to take the very questionable step of compulsory medication, which sets a dangerous precedent.
“I am also alarmed by predictions over 70,000 NHS staff may leave rather than accept this, an exodus we simply cannot afford with the NHS facing the twin challenges of omicron and standard winter pressures.”
He added that he reluctantly supported Ministers on reintroducing compulsory indoor mask wearing. “I cannot simply accept ‘Plan B’ measures in full, as I have big reservations about getting into a stop-start state of emergency every time the virus mutates.
“Returning to restrictions will have a chilling effect on our city’s economic recovery.”