Health minister makes grovelling apology for not ending meeting after testing positive

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Gillian Keegan, MP for Chichester and Minister for Care and Mental Health, offered an emotional apology via Twitter last night after she tested positive during a meeting, and then allowed the meeting to continue. However, her followers were not convinced, with many calling for more serious consequences for the health minister’s breach of covid regulations.

On Tuesday Ms Keegan met Andy Airey, Mike Palmer and Tim Owen, who raised more than £500,000 during a 300-mile walk for suicide prevention charity Papyrus last year.

All three had lost their daughters to suicide.

The trio were meeting ministers to discuss their campaign for suicide awareness to be added to the school curriculum.

Ms Keegan explained the situation surrounding her positive result in a series of tweets.

She said: “Earlier today, ahead of a planned visit I took a precautionary LFD test which gave a positive result.

“I am now isolating at home and fortunately feel fine.

“When I was told my test was positive I was listening to three fathers who had tragically lost their daughters to suicide.

“I told them the result and took further precautions but with their consent, I stayed for a short period to hear their stories.

“I should have immediately ended the meeting and on reflection this was an error of judgement on my part.

“I fully recognise the importance of following the letter and spirit of the policies, so want to be upfront about what happened and to apologise for the mistake I made.”

A spokesman for Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he had spoken to Ms Keegan, who “has taken responsibility for her actions and made a full apology”.

“He accepts her apology and continues to support her in her role,” the spokesman added.

What do you think of Ms Keegan’s apology? Let us know below!

Guidance published on the NHS website says people should begin self-isolating “straight away” if they receive a positive Covid test result.

Many Twitter users were not impressed by the apology, emphasising that lateral flow tests do not take long to show whether or not they are positive, while others compared her error to that of SNP MP Margaret Ferrier.

Last month it was announced that SNP MP Margaret Ferrier will appear in court in August after being accused of travelling between Glasgow and London knowing she had Covid symptoms.

First elected in 2017, Ms Keegan was made a care minister at the health department as part of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle last September.

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Health minister Ed Argar told ITV’s Good Morning Britain regarding Ms Keegan: ‘I saw that Twitter thread, I think, late last night, I think it was.

‘She’s clearly issued a fulsome apology there, that she did make an error of judgement, she was open about that and she accepted she made an error of judgement.’

He added: ‘I understand – I haven’t spoken to or seen Gillian yesterday or today, so I don’t know first hand – but I understand from her Twitter thread that she set out the circumstances and apologised, and I understand that she has also spoken to and apologised to the Secretary of State, who has accepted that apology.’

Members of Parliament breaking coronavirus regulations is a particularly sore topic for the public at the moment, as Ms Keegan’s “mistake” comes as a police investigation begins into alleged lockdown-breaking parties in No. 10.

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