By Q Radio News/PA News
A DUP MP has been criticised after claiming the Stormont health minister is “acting like a poodle”.
Amid tensions between the DUP and other parties over the post-lockdown reopening of schools, Sammy Wilson accused Robin Swann of acting like a “poodle for the unaccountable chief medical officer”.
He made the comment in a tweet this morning:
On the reopening of schools – the Health Minister needs to show some political independence and start acting as a politician rather than a poodle for the unaccountable Chief Medical Officer.— Sammy Wilson MP (@eastantrimmp) February 25, 2021
It was made in response to the Executive's plans to have a phased approach to the re-opening of schools.
Mr Swann responded to Mr Wilson's tweet, saying: "I would have always considered myself more of a Jack Russell."
If I had to chose, I would have always considered myself more of a Jack Russell. pic.twitter.com/uA19OaDP0N— Robin Swann MLA #StopCovidNI (@RobinSwannMoH) February 25, 2021
Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan criticised Mr Wilson’s comments as “a bit unedifying” while SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said they were “unhelpful, thoughtless and frankly insulting”.
First Minister Arlene Foster addressed the comment at today's Executive press briefing, saying that "some tweets would be better typed out and then deleted."
DFM slammed comments by DUP MP Sammy Wilson branding health minister Robin Swann as ‘the poodle of an unaccountable CMO’ (Dr Michael McBride).— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) February 25, 2021
Arlene Foster says she understands people are angry, but some tweets would be better typed out and then deleted. pic.twitter.com/sdlsT1wvza
Ms Foster also made it clear that the DUP have full confidence in the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride.
She said: “I have full confidence in our chief medical officer, he has worked tirelessly as indeed has the chief scientific officer and his deputy chief scientific officer to bring us impartial advice.
“Michael retains and will have my full confidence and that of my party.”