Bishop accused of being 'anti-Tory' for criticising loose Christmas rules

19 December 2020, 12:45 | Updated: 19 December 2020, 12:53

Row between Bishop Lowe and Gerald Howarth

By Seán Hickey

This former Defence Minister accused a Bishop of being staunchly 'anti-Tory' following his criticisms of the Government's pandemic management.

Former Defence Minister Sir Gerald Howarth told Matt Frei that because the Government is allowing the public to gather over Christmas, he argued that "the Government has given people this choice.

"People in my view now are actually acting very responsibly," the former Defence Minister insisted.

Bishop Stephen Lowe didn't seem to agree with the Tory MP, making the point that people have been following stricter rules in Wales and Scotland after seeing the impact of loose restrictions in England.

"People have said yes, I will follow these restrictions because it keeps people safe" said Bishop Stephen Lowe, stating that given the choice, people want to keep their neighbour safe.

"That for me is the Christian thing to do."

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Sir Gerald argued that "the government has slavishly adhered to the advice of the experts," and it was clear through Bishop Lowe's criticism that he spends too much time watching BBC.

"They have produced a diet of unrelenting misery" the Tory MP claimed, suggesting the Bishop is propagating the same misery.

Bishop Lowe pointed out that "the situation has gotten much worse in the last few days" and the Government are preparing to blame the public for the rise in cases.

"The fact remains is that we now have headlines in Conservative newspapers saying there's going to be a massive shutdown in the new year."

"Frankly Gerald," the Bishop claimed, "that is irresponsible."

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"You're so anti-Tory," the former Defence Minister insisted.

"It's beyond your capability to say anything positive about the Government."

"The Government are damned if they do and damned if they don't," Sir Gerald added. He argued that even if stricter restrictions were in place the public would not follow them, and the UK would "have the same spread as it is."

Bishop Lowe wouldn't accept Sir Gerald's argument, noting that "the Government are once again...two or three weeks behind the science."

"You seem to be saying choice is everything...I would say people's lives matter more than choice."

Bishop Lowe reiterated that in the event of a spike in cases in January, "the Government wants to be able to blame people in the new year for not doing the right thing."

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