Coronavirus: Tory MP argues 'not all deaths are equal'

‘Not EVERY death is a tragedy’: Tory MP Sir Charles Walker warns that ‘you can’t compare the death of a baby or teenager with a 90-year-old’ as he rages against Boris Johnson’s coronavirus restrictions

  • Sir Charles Walker told the House of Commons ‘not every death is a tragedy’
  • Tory MP said ‘no government can abolish death’ and ‘not all deaths are equal’ 
  • Sir Charles made the comments as MPs voted on Boris Johnson’s tier system 

A Tory MP risked fury this afternoon as he argued ‘not all deaths are equal’ and ‘not every death is a tragedy’ during a crunch debate on Boris Johnson’s new coronavirus rules. 

Sir Charles Walker told the House of Commons that ‘no government can abolish death, it’s impossible’ as he raged against the Prime Minister’s latest restrictions. 

The Conservative MP for Broxbourne said ‘a tragedy is when a child dies’ and when politicians use the same word to describe the death of an elderly person they ‘diminish that life so well lived’. 

The backbencher urged ministers to ‘change the narrative when we talk about death because not all deaths are equal’ and ‘to compare the death of someone of 90 with the death of someone of 19 is not right’.

MPs will this evening vote on whether Mr Johnson’s new tier system will be rolled out across England from tomorrow. 

The Prime Minister is facing a Tory rebellion on the issue but with Labour due to abstain the measures will sail through the Commons. 

Sir Charles has been one of the leading Tory voices speaking against the Government’s coronavirus rules in recent months, blasting ministers for taking away freedoms. 

Today he urged the Government to stop ‘patronising’ the elderly and to take into account their views on Covid-19 measures. 

He said he had been contacted by numerous elderly people who said they did not want to see their children worrying about losing their jobs or see people losing their liberty, as he argued against the tiers.

He told the House: ‘The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster [Michael Gove] asked on Saturday how could we protect every old person. 

‘The answer is obvious to everyone in this place: We could not protect every old person. 

‘But we could provide them with the information to make informed choices about their own safety because funnily enough you don’t get old by being that stupid.’   

Calling on ministers to ‘change the narrative’, Sir Charles said: ‘No government can abolish death, it is impossible – 615,000 people die every year in this country and not every death is a tragedy. 

‘It is so distressing when I hear leaders of political parties, leaders of their communities, leaders in this place say every death was a tragedy.

‘A tragedy is when a child dies. A tragedy is when some young woman or young man dies, or when you are cut down in your middle years. 

‘But when we say it is a tragedy when someone at 80 or 90 has met their mortality, we diminish that life so well-lived.

‘We diminish the love, we diminish the way that person was cherished and the way that person was valued. 

‘So please, please can we just change the narrative when we talk about death because not all deaths are equal, there is the same outcome, but to compare the death of someone of 90 with the death of someone of 19 is not right, it is not right.’

Sir Charles said there had been ‘tragedy attached to the death of elderly people and that tragedy is that in their final days and months, they’ve been denied the touch of the people that they love’.

‘We have kept families apart for the good of an old person that is desperate to see their child, is desperate to be cared for by their daughter in their final months and weeks,’ he said. 

‘So my plea to this place is please can we involve older people in this discussion because they love their children and grandchildren and want to see them prosper, they want to see them have the same chances and opportunities that they had in their life.’

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