A primary school teacher has urged Lichfield’s MP to stand down after making “offensive” claims education workers were drinking together in staff rooms during lockdown.
Michael Fabricant has drawn widespread criticism after attempting to defend Boris Johnson’s fine for attending a Downing Street party.
“I think at the time just like many teachers and nurses who after a very long shift would tend to go back to the staff room and have a quiet drink which is more or less what he has done.”Michael Fabricant MP
The Conservative MP has since sought to clarify his comments, suggesting that he had been told by “a teacher and two nurses” that they too had enjoyed a lockdown drink with workmates.
But local teacher Laura Ellis told Lichfield Live the MP had crossed a line by using key workers to create a “political smokescreen”.
“As a primary school teacher of over 15 years, I’m absolutely disgusted by Mr Fabricant’s ludicrous, unfounded and offensive comments about nurses and teachers partying after work during lockdown. In fact, the opposite is true.
“I can assure him from personal experience that school staff rooms were out of bounds and we had no choice but to eat our lunch in our classrooms alone. To suggest otherwise is nothing short of absurd.
“To even think that a teaching professional would be permitted to bring alcohol onto school grounds let alone consume it there, just goes to show that he doesn’t have a clue about any educational code of practice.
“Anyone with half a brain cell knows that he only made his slur against teaching and healthcare professionals to create a political smokescreen.
“He has insulted myself and all of my teaching colleagues in both a personal and professional capacity. It beggars belief that anyone in the public domain would say such a thing, let alone an MP who is supposed to be appreciative of and respectful to all people who worked relentlessly in incredibly challenging circumstances throughout the pandemic.”Laura Ellis
Mr Fabricant has not apologised for his comments, but has said he understood why some people were upset with the actions of Boris Johnson.
But he insisted the Prime Minister had thought he was acting within Covid guidelines.
“I genuinely believe that Boris Johnson thought at the time he was not breaking the law as he was operating in a work bubble defined by law.
“This was not a case of ‘do as I say, while I will do what I like’.
“On the occasion he had drinks at the end of a tough day, he believed it was within the work bubble so there was no risk of Covid transmission – these were the same people he had been working with closely all day.
“He takes the matter incredibly seriously, has apologised, and accepted responsibility for the things he didn’t get right and the way this matter has been handled. And so he should.
“Nevertheless, the police believe that this was against the rules and the Prime Minister will not be contesting the Fixed Penalty Notice.”Michael Fabricant MP.
But Laura said failing to apologise for his comments about teaching and health staff meant the MP should stand down.
“He has gone from a local embarrassment to a national disgrace, dragging the whole of Lichfield into a ridiculous scandal of a political circus with his malicious rumours while simultaneously making the city a nationwide laughing stock.
“It worries me to say the least that a man who can stand by these outrageous remarks despite nationwide pressure to withdraw them represents me in Parliament.
“For once, Mr Fabricant, please do the right thing and leave now.”Laura Ellis