Tory MP Adam Holloway has defended Andrew Bridgen after he had the Conservative whip removed for comparing the vaccine rollout to the Holocaust
Holloway has suggested the party are behaving in an "almost fascist way" and said the suspension is a threat to freedom of speech
Bridgen is under investigation by the Conservative party for his remarks branding the vaccine rollout a "crime"
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A Tory MP has suggested his party is behaving in an "almost fascist way" after it suspended a senior MP for remarks about vaccines and the Holocaust.
On Wednesday Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, claimed COVID vaccines "are causing serious harms" and said the rollout was "the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust".
It is not the first time Bridgen has shared widely debunked claims about vaccines; he has repeatedly made the false claim that mRNA vaccines are gene therapy.
Chief Conservative whip Simon Hart said Bridgen, who is now under investigation for his remarks, had "crossed the line" - adding "misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives".
However, Adam Holloway, the Tory MP for Gravesham, has accused his party of depriving Bridgen of his right to freedom of speech.
“We want to do 'diversity and inclusion'?" Holloway told GB News. "Well, let's actually hear what people have to say - and let the public form their own judgement.
"And don't be so sort of almost fascist - and tell people what they can and can't say.”
Holloway also claimed the world is "extremely right-wing" and one of "self-censorship".
“I want to know what people really think... to be able to form proper judgments on their opinions.
"And at the moment [we are] in this awful, awful, really right-wing world where we're not allowed to say what we think, or express ourselves.”
Other senior Conservative MPs have supported the suspension of Bridgen - arguing the decision to remove the whip was the right decision.
Former health secretary Sajid Javid said it was "morally repugnant" to compare vaccines to the Holocaust.
"[It's] right to take action over Andrew Bridgen's tweet," said Javid. "Morally repugnant to compare the life-saving vaccine rollout to the Holocaust.
"And it's dangerously wrong to imply the many good people who played their part in it are part of some kind of conspiracy."
Chief executive of the Holocaust Education Trust Karen Pollock said the comments were “highly irresponsible, wholly inappropriate and an elected politician should know better”.
Bridgen has since defended his remarks, however - but has also said he apologises for any "offence" caused.
"Indeed, it alluded to the Holocaust being the most heinous crime against humanity in living memory," said Bridgen. "Of course, if anyone is genuinely offended by my use of such imagery, then I apologise for any offence caused.
"I wholeheartedly refute any suggestion that I am racist and currently I am speaking to a legal team who will commence action against those who have led the call suggesting that I am."
Watch: Tory MP Andrew Bridgen who lost whip after comparing COVID vaccines to Holocaust defends remarks