Jacob-Rees Mogg has told Brits to stop their “endless carping” about not being able to get a coronavirus test.
The comments come after the UK has been struggling to find testing capacity after a massive surge for the demand of tests.
Boris Johnson bluntly admitted yesterday there was not enough capacity in the system, reports the Mirror.
Yet the Leader of the Commons today lectured Brits who were complaining about the situation
He said: “The issue of testing is one where we have gone from a disease that nobody knew about a few months ago to one where nearly a quarter of a million people a day can be tested.
“And the Prime Minister is expecting that to go up to half a million people a day by the end of October.
“And instead of this endless carping, saying it is difficult to get them, we should actually celebrate the phenomenal success of the British nation in getting up to a quarter of a million tests of a disease that nobody knew about until earlier in the year.”
Shadow Health Minister Alex Norris said: “Now, out-of-touch ministers have got a new message to those who can’t get tests: ‘stop complaining and praise us’.
“Jacob Rees-Mogg should immediately apologise.
“Whining about the public not being grateful enough won’t sort anything – only his government can fix the testing shambles they are presiding over.”
Green MP Caroline Lucas hit back at the top Tory.
She tweeted: “This Government is so incompetent & so dangerously out of touch
“Many still struggling to get tests & latest turnaround times for in-person tests show just 33.3% received within 24 hours.
“Health, jobs, schooling, lives all on the line. But hey, let’s stop carping.”
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth slammed the chaos in a Commons clash with Matt Hancock.
He said: “It has become not so much ‘test and trace’, more like ‘trace a test’.”
And Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz pointed out the number of test results returned within 24 hours had fallen from 68% to 8%.
Matt Hancock today said “I recognise the challenges, of course, in getting hold of tests” and has admitted there are issues getting the tests processed in labs quickly enough.
“I’m working as hard as I can to make sure that all those who need a test who have those symptoms get a test,” he said.
The comments are the latest in a long line of gaffes from Mr Rees-Mogg, who himself isolated a few days ago while waiting for a test.
He apologised last year after claiming the “common sense” reaction to the Grenfell Tower disaster would have been to defy orders and flee the fire.
He also prompted anger after he was pictured slouching across the Commons front bench during a debate.
Mr Rees-Mogg also accused the BBC of “stealing Ovaltine from pensioners” today as ministers stepped up their war on the corporation over free TV licences for the over-75s.
The Commons Leader, who like all other Tory MPs elected in 2017 pledged to preserve over-75s’ free licences, accused the corporation of theft after it means-tested the benefit, following the Tory manifesto betrayal.
Mr Rees-Mogg told the Commons: “I do think that the BBC has been unfair on the pensioners in requiring them to pay the licence fee.
“The hope was that they would not do this. They are basically stealing the Ovaltine from pensioners’ nighttime drink by charging the, for this licence fee.”
The North East Somerset MP also said former Somerset cricketer Vic Marks, a summariser on the BBC’s Test Match Special, should be paid more than “retired association footballer” Gary Lineker.
A No10 spokesman refused to address Mr Rees-Mogg’s comments directly. He said: “As the PM said yesterday, we are clear that we need to increase capacity.
“And I said before the Health Secretary has been clear of the operation challenges that exist, and as I say that’s why we are continuing to increase capacity, but we’ve also said that we continue to target capacity to where it’s most needed and we will continue to do so.”