Lichfield’s MP has urged people not to take tests for coronavirus if they are not displaying symptoms.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant’s comments came in a question to Matthew Hancock in the House of Commons yesterday (10th September) on the subject of COVID-19 testing and the new rules around social gatherings.

The Conservative MP said the new ban on groups of more than six was a necessary step for the Government to take.

“This is a regrettable move, but necessary if we are to avoid the meteoric spike in infections now being experienced on the European continent and in the United States and India.

“The rule is simple – no more than six can gather together unless they are in one household.  And the police have powers to enforce this with £100 fines for first offences.

“Meanwhile, despite the UK now having greater testing capacity per capita than Germany, France, Spain, or the US, demand has exceeded supply because people displaying absolutely no symptoms do not have the antigens to activate the test. 

“It just doesn’t work unless you are displaying symptoms. 

“They are wasting their time getting tested and depriving others with symptoms who do need to be tested.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Mr Fabricant raised the issue in his question to the health secretary yesterday.

“How can we get this message across with some sort of snappy title – rather like the rule of six, it’s very straightforward – and how can we get it across that if you haven’t got symptoms, it is pointless, and a waste to others if you go and get tested?’”

Michael Fabricant MP

Mr Hancock replied:

“We’ve got to get the message across, in the first instance to members of this House, and I hope we’re doing that.

“Also we’re making that clear of course in the communications around the process of getting a test, to ask people if they have symptoms, and make clear that they are not eligible otherwise, and we’re reviewing what more we might need to do, because we’ve got to use the testing capacity, the record testing capacity we’ve got, for the people who really need it most.”

Matt Hancock MP

View the exchange in full below:


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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  1. Is that the same Health Minister who said in the Commons in July that if you were unsure if you had symptoms you absolutely, without question or doubt, 100% should get a Covid test?

    Little wonder that people have been “ignoring advice” when that advice is so shambolic and incoherent.

    Mr Fabricant you would be better served helping to get our Conservative Party back on track rather than toady up to incompetent Cabinet Ministers and a Prime Minister who has list the confidence of a nation.

    We are heading for a second wave and it is entirely the result of Government policy. Stop blaming us for your failures. This is not Conservstivism, this is a farce.

  2. Mr Fabricant’s assertion that the “antigen” test for Covid-19 doesn’t detect the virus in individuals with asymptomatic infections is idiotic. Asymptomatic infection was discovered by detecting the virus in people who showed no symptoms!

    The Government’s programme of testing GPs and care home residents explicitly includes testing of asymptomatic people. See:

    The Government is now asking asking asymptomatic people not to take a test because the system is not able to meet the demand.

    If we can’t have intelligence from our MP can we at least have honesty?

  3. He’s partially correct – but his message is completely at odds with, and likely to confuse those people contacted by NHS test and trace who don’t have symptoms, but who are asked to get tested – and at odds with the whole home testing of asymptomatic staff and residents within care homes. It’s all very well having a “simple message” but not when it’s only right some of the time.

  4. For people in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell. The message is, you are not allowed to meet in a friends house.

    You are however able to meet them in a pub, or restaurant. Along with numerous people unknown to you.

  5. Normally I feel Lichfield Live get it right but reporting this with the headline above is completely irresponsible (as there must be some people who actually listen to this fool). As others have said, you should get tested if someone in your household is suspected of having the virus, even if you have no symptoms. That’s if you can get a test anywhere.

  6. I don’t listen to Fabbo anymore, he flip-flops according to what this cretinous government is currently spouting. He doesn’t get that the government has lost the trust of the people.

  7. Well it must be difficult for a tory MP to know what to say for the best on a given day. Next week it’ll be proven that asymptomatic carriers are big spreaders of the virus but the testing system is a shambles, so let’s blame the public instead.
    Honestly, this govt couldn’t manage it’s way out of a paper bag let alone manage a credible a pandemic response.

  8. How does this sit with a recent published statement that 80 percent of people testing positive had no symptoms? Is it any wonder that people are confused, with contradictory information and rules? The new ‘rule of six’ makes little sense when it doesn’t seem to apply in pubs and restaurants, which are thought to be the main source of infections (along with illegal gatherings).

  9. Perhaps Mr Fabricant could clarify the following for me: I am due to go into hospital for minor surgery and have been told I could be asked to take a COVID-19 test prior to the procedure. In the likely event that I am asymptomatic at the time, do I refuse the test on the basis that I would be wasting the NHS’s time or do I do as my consultant asks and get tested?
    In other words, do I put my trust in the healthcare professionals who are risking their own health to care for me? Or do I trust you, Mr Fabricant, an MP with a track record of lying to me and then refusing to acknowledge or apologise for your lies, and a supporter of a government policy to renege on our legally binding Withdrawal Agreement commitments and undermine the rule of law? Who exactly do I trust?

  10. I used to respect Mr Fabricant for his outspoken beliefs and opinions but, lately (well…over the last few years), I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with him as an MP. He’s consistently shown himself to be rude, arrogant, and quite frankly – not fit for office. He constantly changes his position on issues, bemoans anyone who confronts him with offensive slurs, and is no longer representative of Lichfield. I will not be voting for him again. Sadly, his irreverence has turned to irrelevance.

  11. Mr Fabricant has form for peddling this type of misinformation.

    On the 29th March he tweeted that a test for covid-19 infection was “not yet available for Covid-19” … after Professor Whitty reported on the 16th March that 44,000 such tests had been already been carried out in the UK!

    This earlier incident was also against a background of criticism of the Government’s failure to provide sufficient testing capacity.

    “Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?”

  12. I hope the MP will not vote to support an illegal action this govt is trying to force through Parliament.
    Can we have a statement about that, Mr Fabricant.
    Just adding here that my previously deluded family members who voted tory have decided enough is enough – they won’t support the tories again, let down and used, the phrase I heard a lot this weekend.

  13. Unfortunately our MP has been caught up in the contradictions and inconsistencies that have characterised this government. We have to leave names and contact details in pubs and restaurants, but not in shops and supermarkets, or as I understand it on public transport. Face coverings are mandatory in shops but no-one is enforcing it. We were told during the ‘lock down’ to stay at home if possible, now we are told to get back to offices, not on health grounds, but to support sandwich and coffee shops. The test and trace system is even being described as a shambles by doctors. The rule of six is incomprehensible in its inconsistency. Now we are to have COVID marshals to keep us in line but with no enforcement powers. Police were never given sufficient powers and had to resort to persuading people to behave. Nightingale hospitals were fitted out but never used, not that we would have had enough staff to man them due decades of under investment in the NHS. And these people are running the country!

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