Conservative Chris Clarkson said the insult was hurled after he insinuated that members of the shadow front bench believe the Covid pandemic is a “good crisis” to exploit.

Nigel Evans, the Deputy Speaker, who was not in the chair at the time, said language used in the debate had made him “wince”.

Treasury minister Jesse Norman defended the Government’s economic response, warned of the costs of lockdowns and criticised the language used by some Labour MPs. He told the Commons: “I don’t think it’s consistent with the Labour Party’s commitment to avoid party politics to have descriptions from the opposite side of, in one phrase, ‘screwing people over’ heard in this chamber, or referring to a member of this chamber as ‘scum’ from the Labour front bench.”

Two Conservative MPs, Mr Wragg and Chris Green, the Conservative MP for Bolton West and Atherton, rebelled to support Labour’s motion seeking “fair economic support” for areas facing higher Covid-19 restrictions. 

A further 22 Tories including Sir Graham Brady, the Tory MP for Altrincham and Sale West and the chairman of the 1922 Committee, the former Cabinet minister and Tory MP for Tatton Esther McVey and Richard Holden, the newly elected MP for North West Durham, abstained.

Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a member of Sage, warned that the three-tier system was unlikely to help bring down infection rates and called for a national “circuit-breaker” lockdown.

Speaking about the tier system, he told MPs, “I don’t think anyone thinks it will reduce it [the ‘R’ rate] to less that one. That means in Liverpool and Manchester we will keep the incidents at this high level for the foreseeable future where hospitals are really stretched and [there is] a large number of deaths. I would not follow that strategy. 

“If you look where we are, there is no way we come out of this wave without counting our deaths in the tens of thousands.”

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