A Conservative MP has individually written to every government department urging them to scrap all their internal Covid-19 precautions.
Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley, sent at least 15 letters to ministers across Whitehall at the end of February.
In each identical written message he urged the “department and its agencies remove all internal Covid-19 related policies, restrictions and mask mandates”.
Departments Mr Davies wants to drop all coronavirus precautions include Education, Health, and the Ministry of Defense – his demands include scrapping mitigations in departmental agencies like Jobcentres.
Mr Davies is a longstanding opponent of certain measures to contain Covid. In December he described mask-wearing as “one of the worst examples of the suffocation of our basic freedoms”.
His latest push comes despite virtually all Covid-related legal requirements on individuals being scrapped by the government, including the requirement to self-isolate when infectious.
Not all departments have yet written back to Mr Davies, but none have so far agreed to his approach.
“The Government’s Working Safely guidance, which was revised on 24 February 2022, continues to require organizations to carry out a risk assessment which includes the risk from COVID-19,” said health minister Edward Argar, responding for the Department of Health and Social Care .
“It also sets out additional actions organizations can take to protect employees in the workplace, such as ensuring adequate ventilation, frequent cleaning, asking people to wash their hands frequently and asking people with COVID-19 to stay away.
“The guidance advises that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet, when rates of transmission are high. Civil Service employers will continue to follow this guidance and align their policies accordingly .”
In another typical response, transport minister Andrew Stephenson said his department would continue “ensuring adequate ventilation, frequent cleaning, asking people to wash their hands frequently and asking people with COVID-19 to stay away” – in line with government guidance.
Layla Moran, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus, told The Independent: “At a time of international crisis we should not be wasting time and energy trying to stop civil servants from wearing masks.
“Learning to live with Covid must not mean living as if Covid does not exist and certainly it does not mean prematurely removing basic mitigation measures, particularly as we learn more about the debilitating impacts of Long Covid.”