Wife of self-isolating Tory MP accuses minister with coronavirus of 'jeopardising' her family

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
File images of Tory MPs Nadine Dorries and Andrew Bridgen (PA/Reuters)

The wife of a self-isolating Tory MP has accused a coronavirus-positive minister of “jeopardising” her family’s safety in a heated Twitter exchange.

Opera singer Nevena Bridgen, the wife of Andrew Bridgen, called out Nadine Dorries on Friday after the two MPs met last week. Dorries firmly denied the claim.

Nevena Bridgen asked Dorries – who confirmed on Tuesday she was coronavirus-positive – “why you did not tell them [Public Health England] that you sat next to my husband in a tea room”?

Dorries, who had been praising Public Health England, then hit back. She claimed Bridgen, the MP for North West Leicestershire was “on another table not close to me”.

Here is the exchange:

Backbencher Bridgen said he went into self-isolation on Thursday following a lunch in the House of Commons tea room with Dorries, the health minister who subsequently became the first MP to be diagnosed with Covid-19.

He told the PA news agency on Thursday that he was awaiting a coronavirus test and said: “I have a cough and a cold but I am working via Skype and the telephone.”

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In a statement on Tuesday night, Dorries had said: “As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self-isolating at home.

“Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.”

Rachael Maskell, the Labour and Co-operative representative for York Central, also went into self-isolation this week after coming into contact with Dorries, who has said she is “over the worst of it”.

As of 9am on Thursday, there had been 590 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. Ten people have died.

Read more: Can the NHS deal with a coronavirus pandemic?

The government subsequently escalated its response to the “delay” phase of its action plan, but ruled out banning large-scale public events and closing schools for the time being.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt criticised the government’s response, with Boris Johnson’s official spokesman countering on Friday: “We are very clear where we take our advice from. That is from the chief scientific adviser and the chief medical officer.

“Our aim is to reduce the peak of the outbreak so the NHS will be in stronger state as the weather improves.”