THE four Oxfordshire MPs who voted down a motion which would have seen NHS staff and carers given weekly tests for coronavirus have explained their decision.

In a joint statement, Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury; David Johnston, MP for Wantage; John Howell, MP for Henley; and Robert Courts, MP for Witney described the motion for weekly tests as political point scoring by the Labour Party.

They also added that the current policy on coronavirus testing for NHS staff was to test each week if necessary.

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Their statement said: “Regular testing of NHS staff, including weekly testing if it is deemed necessary, is current government policy, as advised by the Chief Medical Officer. Clinical advice is to focus intensive asymptomatic testing in those areas or settings identified to have high prevalence of Coronavirus, so frontline staff rather than those in administrative roles who do not come into contact with patients.

“Labour said they were calling for weekly testing of NHS staff 'if necessary'. But 'if necessary' was not in the wording of their motion, which instead called for blanket weekly testing without any qualification – proving this was nothing more than a political stunt.

“At a time of national crisis, we think the public expect MPs to work together constructively - not to attempt to score party political points on issues that are profoundly sensitive and important.”

The joint statement was very similar to an earlier one issued by John Howell alone.

READ AGAIN: Our original story on the motion being voted down

The motion was considered by MPs on Wednesday night.

It was proposed by Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth.

But it was defeated in the house of commons by 344 votes to 198, with the Tories and DUP forming the majority against it.

Oxford's MPs, Lib Dem Layla Moran, and Labour's Anneliese Dodds, voted in favour of the weekly testing plan.

Oxford University Hospitals Trust has been contacted for comment on how their current testing regime works, in order to give an example of current arrangements.