'Only 25% of your staff are in?' Ferrari rips into Vaccines Minister

7 September 2021, 08:56 | Updated: 7 September 2021, 09:51

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Nick Ferrari reacts furiously after Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says only 25% of his staff are back working in the office.

"I imagine like me you will have been heartened by the fact the number of people commuting in and out of London was at its highest in 18 months?"

Monday saw the busiest morning on the Tube since March 2020, according to TfL.

But, Nick Ferrari pointed out reports suggested things "weren't the same in Whitehall" asking Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi how many of his staff were back behind their desks.

Watch: London Tube seeing busiest morning in 18 months is 'very good news', says Tory peer

Mr Zahawi said staff in his department had started to return, with "something like 25 per cent back in the office on a rota system."

"One in four, minister?" Asked an incredulous Nick Ferrari, "surely we can accommodate a number greater than that?"

Mr Zahawi acknowledged his department "certainly can," with Nick calling on him to "do it."

Clarifying his civil servants were "100 per cent working," the minister said the phased return was to ensure things were done "in a safe way."

Nick put it to him that workers were being encouraged to return to offices while at the same time the majority of his office is still empty.

"Hang on, there you are you're leading the charge with the Prime Minster, urging people to get back to work.

"And when it comes to your department it's one in four, I could fire a canon through your department and I wouldn't hit anyone!"

Mr Zahawi said he would continue to ensure staff return to the office branding it "the right thing to do."

But, taking Nick's point personally the Minister pledged to "lead by example," he said he would take Nick's message and "personally make sure we continue on this path."