Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has had the Conservative Party whip removed after having “crossed a line” in his criticism of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The North West Leicestershire representative has been increasingly vocal in remarks questioning the coronavirus vaccine.
On Wednesday he tweeted an article on vaccines, adding: “As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.”
Chief whip Simon Hart said: “Andrew Bridgen has crossed a line, causing great offence in the process.
“As a nation, we should be very proud of what has been achieved through the vaccine programme. The vaccine is the best defence against Covid that we have.
“Misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives. I am therefore removing the whip from Andrew Bridgen with immediate effect, pending a formal investigation.”
Earlier, former Cabinet minister Simon Clarke had condemned Bridgen’s tweet referring to the Holocaust, calling it “disgraceful”.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, called the comments “highly irresponsible and wholly inappropriate”.
Bridgen is currently suspended from the Commons after he was found to have displayed a “very cavalier” attitude to the rules in a series of lobbying breaches.
MPs agreed at the start of the week to suspend Bridgen for five sitting days from Tuesday.
Tory peer Lord Pickles, the UK special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, said throughout the pandemic “we saw various anti-vac groups compare themselves to victims of the Nazis; it was distasteful then and remains so”.
“The act of murdering millions of innocent people does not lend itself to modern comparisons, it trivialises and distorts the Holocaust,” he said.
“People in authority have a duty to use language responsible; Mr Bridgen has failed that test, and I welcome the removal of the Conservative whip from him.”