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Fabricant refuses to withdraw claim of nurses drinking in staff rooms

MP responds to RCN complaint that his remarks are demoralising for the profession
The MP Michael Fabricant

MP responds to RCN complaint that his remarks are demoralising for the profession

The MP Michael Fabricant has refused to back down over his claims that nurses had a drink with colleagues in staff rooms during the pandemic, despite calls for him to apologise.

Mr Fabricant, the Tory MP for Lichfield, appeared on BBC News earlier this month to defend prime minister Boris Johnson over the ‘party-gate’ scandal, claiming he knew some nurses and teachers who would wind down after a long shift by having ‘a quiet drink’ with colleagues.

Now, in a letter to the RCN responding to

MP responds to RCN complaint that his remarks are demoralising for the profession

The MP Michael Fabricant
Michael Fabricant Picture: Shutterstock

The MP Michael Fabricant has refused to back down over his claims that nurses had a drink with colleagues in staff rooms during the pandemic, despite calls for him to apologise.

Mr Fabricant, the Tory MP for Lichfield, appeared on BBC News earlier this month to defend prime minister Boris Johnson over the ‘party-gate’ scandal, claiming he knew some nurses and teachers who would wind down after a long shift by having ‘a quiet drink’ with colleagues.

Now, in a letter to the RCN responding to the union’s calls for him to retract the claims, Mr Fabricant has stood by his allegations and said that since the interview he had been made aware of further incidents.

‘I explained that I was neither judging or chastising the minority of nurses and teachers who chose to unwind with a few work colleagues after a long shift. Nor did I suggest they were drunk,’ he wrote.

RCN says it will continue to demand that Mr Fabricant withdraws his comments and apologises

‘Of course I am well aware that having a drink after a shift would be against the rules, but I was aware of a number of instances where this had happened, albeit in a minority of cases.

‘My error… was to give the impression this was general practice by nurses and teachers. This was never the case.’

Mr Fabricants comments on the BBC followed confirmation that the prime minister and chancellor Rishi Sunak had received fixed penalty notices for attending a Downing Street party during lockdown.

Following the interview, RCN general secretary Pat Cullen wrote to Mr Fabricant calling on him to retract the claims, calling his statement demoralising to the profession.

In his reply, shared on Twitter by the RCN, Mr Fabricant said it was not his intention to cause offence, and apologised ‘if I had genuinely done so’.

But he went on to argue that tolerance for those who had flouted the rules and had work drinks after a stressful working day ‘would be no bad thing’.

The RCN said it will continue to demand that Mr Fabricant withdraws his comments and apologises to its members.

Many reacted angrily to his response, calling his claims ‘utterly disgraceful’ and ‘fabricated’.

One person tweeted: ‘What weasel words. Unless he states precisely those instances which were brought to his attention, I simply cannot believe him. This is not an apology, he is justifying his words with possible lies.’


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