A Conservative MP has branded mask wearing “mumbo-jumbo” during a debate in the House of Commons.
Sir Desmond Swayne, Tory MP for New Forest West, questioned the efficacy of face coverings to prevent the spread of Covid.
His remarks came as the health secretary made a speech outlining the government’s new measures to try and contain the spread of the Omicron variant.
Face coverings will be compulsory on public transport and in shops in England from Tuesday.
Addressing Sajid Javid, Swayne said: “Over the last few months, there’s been a useful control experiment on face coverings given the different policies pursued in Scotland and England.
“What estimate has he made of the result? It’s mumbo-jumbo, isn’t it?”
Unlike England, mask wearing has been mandatory in Scotland since the beginning of the pandemic.
Since measures were lifted in England, Scotland has reported some of the highest Covid case numbers in the UK.
Evidence published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows that face coverings are, to a certain extent, effective at reducing Covid transmission in healthcare and community settings.
The health secretary responded to Swayne by pointing out that experts advising the UK continue to recommend the use of face coverings.