'How irresponsible': Iain Dale takes on Tory MP who'll stop wearing a face mask

6 July 2021, 11:31

By Tim Dodd

This is the moment Iain Dale clashed with Tory MP Miriam Cates who said she won't wear a face mask on public transport after July 19 because 'freedom is very important' and 'showing our faces is part of being human'.

The conversation comes as Boris Johnson announces face masks will no longer be legally required and the one-metre social distancing rule will be scrapped after step four of unlocking - set for July 19.

Tory MP Miriam Cates began by arguing: "Have we assessed the risks of wearing face masks constantly, especially to our children?"

Iain immediately interjected: "Are we really going to have that argument again which we had last March and April? That seems a bit of a ridiculous point to make."

Ms Cates responded: "I completely agree with the Prime Minister, this has to be about personal attitude to risk. If people want to continue wearing face masks, and I think they will, on public transport, then that is their decision."

"Will you?" Iain asked.

"No I won't be," Ms Cates responded.

"How irresponsible can you get?" Iain said, as Ms Cates defended her opinion that "freedom is very important, showing our faces is part of being human."

Read more: Govt wants to replace Covid laws with 'personal responsibility' after July 19, LBC told

Iain then challenged her position as an MP holding such a view:

"You are supposed to be a leader of public opinion and you're telling me you won't wear a face mask because people want to see your face... Seriously?"

Ms Cates responded: "My point is, two years ago, would we have told people that they were dangerous and irresponsible for not wearing a mask during flu season? No we wouldn't.

"So where is the consensus for this? We need to arrive at the consensus for this, if that is the case, but there isn't a consensus there at the moment.

"This a decision that was made in the middle of a pandemic, and now we're coming out of it."

Read more: Government plans to 'give back far more personal freedoms' from July 19

Mr Johnson set out a five point plan for the nation to live with Covid. He stressed a final decision on July 19 has not yet been made, and he will announce if it has on July 12.

Legal restrictions will be replaced with a focus on people making their own decisions about managing the virus. All businesses will be allowed to return, including nightclubs, and cultural events like sports and theatre will not have a limit on audiences.