Andrew Bridgen was unveiled as Reclaim’s first MP today, as party leader Laurence Fox defended a tweet likening the Covid jab to the Holocaust that saw the politician expelled by the Tories.
The anti-vaxxer announced he will stand against the Conservatives in his North West Leicestershire seat at the next general election for his new party – but won’t trigger a by-election sooner.
Mr Bridgen was expelled by the Conservatives last month over the conspiracy theory comments he made on Twitter in January, where he branded the life-saving vaccines ‘the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust’.
At a press conference in Westminster today Mr Fox, the former actor turned vaccine-sceptic politician, defended the remarks, saying that his new ally would be proved ‘on the right side of history’.
‘When Andrew Bridgen, as a responsible MP, tried to draw his colleagues attention to the very real side effects of these jabs, effects like clotting, which has been cited on death certificates, well Andrew gets kicked out of the Conservative Party,’ he said.
‘Whatever you may think of Andrew, however much hyperbole he uses in his justifiable anger, that was a disgraceful attempt by a mainstream political party, to silence free speech and inquiry.’
In a speech in which he again questioned the safety of the Covid vaccines, Mr Bridgen claimed he was fighting ‘to protect and preserve our long history of liberty, freedom of thought and speech, and our economic prosperity’.
The anti-vaxxer announced he will stand against the Conservatives in his North West Leicestershire seat at the next election for his new party.
At a press conference in Westminster today Mr Fox, the former actor turned politician, defended the remarks, saying that his new ally would be proved ‘on the right side of history’.
He said he was joining Laurence Fox’s party ‘because they respect free speech as the basis for every aspect of our democracy and our society’.
Mr Bridgen has made an increasing number of anti-vaxxer claims on social media and in the Commons chamber since 2022.
Action was finally taken against him in January after he shared an article on the Pfizer and Moderna jabs online, based on safety data reportedly from US health agencies, and added: ‘As one consultant cardiologist said to me this is the biggest crime against humanity since the holocaust.’
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the comments he made in January as ‘utterly unacceptable’.
Tory chief whip Simon Hart took action because the remarks ‘crossed a line’, and other senior Tory MPs lined up to criticise his remarks.
One said they were ‘disgraceful’ and another warned that if he prevented people from being vaccinated he would have ‘blood on his hands’.
A regular vaccines critic, Mr Bridgen accused the Tories of kicking him out ‘under false pretences’ and had stated his intention to run against the party at the next election, as he hit out at ‘corruption, collusion and cover-ups’.
Earlier this year, Mr Bridgen was handed a five-day suspension for breaking the MPs’ code of conduct banning lobbying.
He was found to have committed a series of breaches including an ‘unacceptable attack upon the integrity’ of then-standards commissioner Kathryn Stone.