Angela Rayner accused of having her 'very own brand of toxic' during Covid-19 debate

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Aden-Jay Wood

By Aden-Jay Wood

Published: 14/07/2022

- 11:04

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:50

The clash came after Ms Rayner asked Kit Malthouse whether the Covid public inquiry process would be independent

A Cabinet minister was heckled after branding Angela Rayner “toxic” and accusing her of asking loaded questions.

Kit Malthouse, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, came under fire in the Commons as he made the comments in response to concerns of a “cover-up” over the Covid public inquiry.

Labour deputy leader Ms Rayner acknowledged the country has reached the “dark milestone” of more than 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, telling Mr Malthouse: “The Prime Minister delayed the start of the public inquiry into the Government’s handling of the pandemic, with the hearings not expected until 2023, making a full inquiry unlikely before the next election.”

Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner taking part in a Challah bake-off hosted by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as part of his Shabbat UK project, at the Central United Synagogue in London. Picture date: Tuesday April 26, 2022.
Angela Rayner
Kirsty O'Connor

Kit Malthouse
Kit Malthouse
Aaron Chown

Ms Rayner highlighted reports suggesting the Government is “trying to block evidence to the inquiry with ministers fearful they could be sued for damages”, adding: “There can be no hint of a cover-up or excuses for ministers dodging scrutiny.

“Does he deny those reports that have been in the press and, if not, how can he assure us and the public that process will be independent?”

Mr Malthouse, to heckling from the Opposition benches, replied: “Well, the honourable lady has her very own brand of toxic which she attempts to pump into everything the Government does and she’s effectively, no, no, no, no, we literally can’t conduct debate in this House on the ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ questions.

“This inquiry will be one that will be independently chaired and thoroughly conducted. It will have statutory powers to summon evidence and witnesses in the way that others have done.”

Mr Malthouse said the Government is “determined to learn the lessons of the Covid pandemic”, adding: “Nobody thinks that everything that happened during the pandemic was perfect.

“But to start her contemplation of this issue by maligning the motives of those ministers who put their shoulder to the wheel at a time of national emergency is frankly disgraceful.”

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