Conspiracy Crowd React to Andrew Bridgen Adjournment Debate

Andrew Mitchell MP also dragged into conspiracy narrative

From The i Newspaper:

A disgraced MP who was stripped of the Conservative whip for comparing the use of Covid vaccines to the Holocaust is free to raise “dangerous” anti-vax conspiracy theories in Parliament, the Commons Speaker has said.

Andrew Bridgen, who lost the party whip in January, “has a right to express his views whether others agree with them or not”, a spokeswoman for Speaker Lindsay Hoyle.

It came after Mr Bridgen once again used a Commons adjournment debate to make a series of claims about Covid vaccines, including that boosters are “state-sponsored self harm on a national level”.

The claims were thoroughly debunked by Health Minister Will Quince, who said vaccines have “saved tens of thousands of lives, reduced the pressure on the NHS and were instrumental in allowing our economy and society to reopen”.

The exchange can be viewed on Parliament TV here, with the Hansard transcript here. Bridgen also uploaded the segment to his YouTube channel – there was apparently a period of three hours on Friday evening (1) when it was removed “for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines”, but the platform then realised that censoring a video of official Parliamentary proceedings was the wrong call. Bridgen credits the u-turn to “a large public outcry”, although most of those who complained about it on social media were unaware that it was already back online.

Bridgen’s speech was a summary of the anti-Covid vaccination tropes that he is already known for – the only notable detail was that he avoided repeating in Parliament the extravagant “plandemic” claims he has made on social media, such as that members of various security services knew about Covid in advance and had been warned not to get vaccinated, and that it has been “confirmed” to him that the virus and the vaccines were both created by the US Department of Defense at Fort Detrick and in Canada. (2)

Adjournment debates are held at the end of the day’s business in the House of Commons, and the word “debate” is a misnomer – all that happens is that an MP makes a speech and a minister replies. They are a device by which an issue may be entered into the Parliamentary record (or in this case, by which Bridgen can get some free publicity from GB News), and as such they are typically poorly attended. In this instance, the “debate” was on a Friday afternoon, and there weren’t many MPs present even before Bridgen started. Given that Bridgen is disgraced and marginal, there was never much chance that MPs would show up to listen to him, or remain just to hear him when other business had been concluded.

As might have been expected, however, conspiracy influencers claim that MPs failed to attend because they either don’t care about vaccination injury or because their presence would for some unexplained reason be problematic. The strongest version of this narrative alleges that Andrew Mitchell crossed the floor either to urge or to instruct two opposition MPs to leave, and that this precipitated a general flight from the chamber. This claim seems to have begun with the anti-Covid vax retired actor John Bowe, and was amplified by usual suspects (some of whom will be familiar from GB News): John Bye notes Dominque Samuels, Matt Le Tissier, Bernie Spofforth, Leilani Dowding, James Freeman, June Slater, Anna de Buisseret and even Andrew Bridgen’s wife Nevena Bridgen.

Some also posted recent photos of Mitchell with Bill Gates – Mitchell is active in polio eradication efforts, and the conspiracy crowd making him villain of the day is a further sign that conspiratorial anti-vax narratives must by logic expand beyond just Covid vaccination to other vaccines.

The actual context is that Bridgen spoke following the Second Reading of Layla Moran’s  Palestinian Statehood (Recognition) Private Member’s Bill, during which Mitchell responded on behalf of the government. When Mitchell crossed the floor to speak to Moran privately for a moment as Bridgen began, this was most likely a courtesy farewell, or perhaps something to do with the issue they had been discussing. The idea that he approached her to say “Quick, Andrew Bridgen is speaking about vaccine injury, you’ve got to get out” is fantastical and nonsensical. It is also clear from the full video that Moran and an MP sitting next to her were already getting ready to leave before Mitchell came over.

UPDATE (20 March): Antivax YouTuber Dr John Campbell (the “Dr” is a PhD in nursing) has managed to milk the Mitchell non-incident into a five minute video. Campbell’s extensive commentary on a slow-motion running of the footage is particularly impressive given that Campbell fails to identify either Mitchell or Moran by name and appears to be completely ignorant of the adjournment debate context.


1. Someone posting a link to the video at 7.20 pm said it that had been “nuked”, and Bridgen complained about the removal at 8.19 pm. There is is gap in users posting the link on Twitter until 10.33 pm, indicating that it was restored around then.

2. The latter claim was made on Twitter, and it may be that someone else has access to his account. One sign of this is a Bridgen Tweet that appeared on Friday at 2.49 pm, which was while he was in full flow making his speech. We also know that Bridgen receives “speechwriting support” from Laurence Fox’s “Reclaim the Media” organisation.

Anna Brees vs a Nicola Bulley Troofer

Some conflict within the conspiracy milieu:

I saw a solicitor today about suing Anna Brees for libel. He suggested I set up a campaign with Crowdjustice. So I did! It’s basically for publishing lies about me in an attempt to malign me and damage my reputation and career. She stated that I am “mentally unwell”, “a troublemaker”, here to cause “chaos” and that I am “at best stupid.” She also tagged people I work for in a tweet. All libellous.

The complainant, Jacqui Deevoy, is a professional journalist who has a creditable CV of articles and features across numerous British newspapers and magazines over many years. However, she also provides content for David Icke’s Ickonic channel, including a recent article in which she complained about the “abuse I’ve had on social media for even questioning whether [Nicola Bulley is] real and not just the A.I. face of a sinister government campaign”. Most people would regard the suggestion that Bulley’s tragic death in distressing circumstances was fabricated as beyond reason and beneath contempt, and as such I would be surprised if a judge were to rule that people should not draw negative inferences about the character of anyone willing to entertain the idea as a serious proposition. Deevoy’s explanation is that “My job is to ask questions”.

Anna Brees as the voice of reason, though, is equally difficult to credit – she rose to prominence within the conspiracy milieu in association with Jon Wedger, and in  2018 she was Tweeting references to the Illuminati, “Pizzagate” and “Qanon”. A few days ago she decided to amplfy a discussion between Maajid Nawaz and Mike Yeadon, in which Yeadon made the accusation “that over 100,000 people were killed by government protocols of Midazolam and Morphine” – Brees’s eccentric commentary is not that this is untrue, but that it was a reasonable thing to do due to hospital incapacity (1).

Brees’s estrangement from the main currents of the conspiracist movement in the UK has been confirmed by John Mappin, who was moved to respond to her after she blocked him on Twitter:

By attempting to dilute or water down the actual evil intentions of the decision makers you are assisting their actions and increasing the chance of the same crimes being repeated…

There was a time when you appreciated our friendship advice, and council. You current path will not bring happiness or the result you seek.

UPDATE (April 2023): Brees is also complaining about “abuse” she is getting on social media; this is hard to take if one recalls her 2019 retaliation against Private Eye journalist Rosie Waterhouse, which involved her recording Michael Tarraga unleashing a stream of aggressive abuse after Waterhouse raised the issue of some discrepanices in his misery memoir. Particularly notable was Brees’s smirk while Tarraga was speaking.


1. The idea that a secret programme of euthanasia explains away Covid deaths in the UK has been around for a while, but it recently got a boost thanks to a bogus video from John Campbell which has been debunked by James Lynch here. Isabel Oakeshott, who famously has access to thousands of government WhatsApp messages from during the pandemic, said in December about the claim that “I’ve seen zero evidence whatsoever. This is a very silly conspiracy theory”. Perhaps her partner Richard Tice could raise the matter with Nawaz the next time they have dinner together.

Turning Point UK Continues Focus on Drag Storytelling Events

From the Pink News at the end of last month:

A rally organised by right-wing group Turning Point UK against Magical Storytelling at The Honor Oak pub in Lewisham, south east London, was dwarfed in number by those attending a loud and colourful counter-protest made up up of LGBTQ+ people, allies and anti-fascist groups.

Around 30 protestors – including anti-LGBTQ+ GB News host and Free Church of England member Deacon Calvin Robinson – attended the Turning Point UK protest, which was forced to take place around 100 metres from the pub after the road was blocked by hundreds of people defending the family event, hosted by drag queen That Girl.

Dozens of police attended the scene to prevent the two sides from mixing as LGBTQ+ supporters drowned out a speech from Robinson with a chorus of boos, sirens and chants of “You’re not a real vicar”.

This is part of a trend in recent months – I noted an example last July, at which a Drag Queen Story Hour was protested in Reading by Covid anti-vax activists seeking to broaden the scope of their moral entrepreneurship. Turning Point UK speakers at Honor Oak included “Chairman of the Orthodox Conservatives Colonel James Bogle”, along with TPUK COO Nick Tenconi and Grenadier Roy Brinkley.

The complaint of the protestors is that drag acts are “sexualised” entertainment that should be for adults only. Artistes may excise bawdy references from their routines, but flamboyant, camp and/or skimpy costuming and deportment are deemed to be inherently sexual rather than clownish or comedic. This is useful, as it means that objectors do not have to articulate an argument for censorship on the basis that drag artistes are bad gender role models (a typical moral panic trope unlikely to impress), but can instead focus on the more sinister notion of “grooming”.

Robinson’s formulation of what this means was noted recently by David Aaronovitch:

Robinson demanded with something approaching rhetorical ability: “Ask not why your children are so keen to spend time with drag queens, ask why drag queens are so keen to spend time with your children.” This is not so much an insinuation as an accusation.

On Twitter, Raheem Kassam drew attention to a self-made banner stating “Queer Joy Is For All Ages” as evidence that the counter-protestors were a “pro pedo demonstration” – an interpretation that was amplifed by Robinson.

Turning Point UK will be at it again this Friday, where Robinson will this time be joined by his friend Laurence Fox (no stranger to making “paeodphile” taunts). TPUK branding for the protest is shared with their Bad Law Project.

Also on the line up this time is Pastor Rikki Doolan. Doolan is the spokesman for a British-Zimbabwean evangelist named Uebert Angel, who has the status of “Ambassador at Large” for Zimbabwe’s government. Undercover footage of the two men features in a clip for an upcoming Al-Jaazera documentary about gold smuggling in Zimbabwe.

One protestor who may or may not be present on Friday is Brian Stovell (“Brexit Brian”), who posed with Robinson for a photo-op in Lewisham just before being arrested for doing a Nazi salute at the counter protestors.

UPDATE (11 March): The BBC reports:

Protesters stood outside an empty pub on Friday morning to rally against a non-existent drag event.

Turning Point UK had organised a demonstration at The Great Exhibition pub in East Dulwich for 11:00 GMT.

…A spokesperson for CLIP, which hosted a Drag Storytime event at the venue in July 2022, told BBC London that the venue’s website was still showing the event as running monthly because the listings had not been updated.

Turning Point UK were told beforehand that there was no event, but claimed that the listing showed that one had been planned.

As noted by Matthew Sweet, Stovell was again present and welcome; Fox’s activist associate Martin Daubney, who was also there, has expressed scepticism of images associating Stovell with Hitler-salute gestures.

Matthew also noted that on Christmas Day Tenconi posted a Tweet showing him shaking hands with Kyle Rittenhouse. Tenconi’s message to the man who shot dead two people in Kenosha was “Alpha > Liberal betas” and “huge fan of your work”.