A former Dragons’ Den star has sparked fury by saying Chris Whitty ‘will hang’ for recommending Covid jabs for children.
Ex-‘Dragon’ Rachel Elnaugh, 56, took to Twitter to call the decision to launch a UK-wide vaccination programme for children aged 12-15 as ‘child abuse’.
Responding to a Tweet by Good Morning Britain, which asked viewers if they were happy for their children to be vaccinated, the businesswoman wrote: ‘Child abuse. Whitty will hang for this.’
The tweet, posted earlier today from the entrepreneur’s verified Twitter account, sparked a huge backlash.
Many criticised the comment aimed at England’s Chief Medical Officer – who earlier this year was assaulted by anti-vaxxers.
The incident was the fourth time a report had been made to police alleging harassment against Professor Whitty – who has been thrust into the limelight during the Covid pandemic.
Ian Fraser, one of those to criticise Ms Elnaugh’s tweet, wrote: ‘What the former ‘Dragon’ Rachel Elnaugh tweeted here is vile, disgraceful and seemingly inciting violence against a Government official’. He also urged Twitter to review the Tweet.
Another wrote: ‘Nothing to see here. Just Rachel Elnaugh – an investor from BBC show most people know – Dragon’s Den – insinuating that children receiving the vaccine is child abuse.
‘These rotten views run deep and anyone can have them.’
A former Dragon’s Den star has sparked fury by saying Chris Whitty (pictured left) ‘will hang’ for recommending Covid jabs for children. Ex-‘Dragon’ Rachel Elnaugh (pictured right), 56, took to Twitter to call the decision to launch a UK-wide vaccination programme for children aged 12-15 as ‘child abuse’.
Responding to a Tweet by Good Morning Britain, which viewers if they were happy for their children to be vaccinated, the businesswoman, who is the founder of experience day firm Red Letter Days, wrote: ‘Child abuse. Whitty will hang for this.’
Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Whatever your views are, and however ill thought through they are, there is absolutely no need for this inciting of violence towards someone doing their job.
‘You should be ashamed of yourself. Reported.’
Others described the tweet as ‘appalling and revolting’, while one Twitter user, making reference to a recent case of assault against Professor Whitty, added: ‘He has already been assaulted in the street. You are inciting violence. Reported.’
The tweet comes after Professor Whitty, along with the UK’s other chief medical officers (CMOs), recommended the Government commit to the vaccine roll-out for healthy children-aged 12-15.
The CMOs say the vaccine programme will help reduce disruption to education.
Ministers yesterday said they would go ahead with the roll-out, but said the ultimate decision would be up to children and not their parents.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said yesterday that he hoped the first jabs in England would take place by 22 September.
For now, children will be offered a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Around three million children are set to be vaccinated under the scheme.
However there have move has been met with some scepticism, because healthy children are viewed as at low risk from Covid.
There are also concerns about the very rare chance of children developing the rare complication myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart – from the Covid vaccine.
Children won’t be given a second dose until more data on myocarditis becomes available.
Professor Whitty said it was a ‘difficult decision’ and should not be seen as a ‘silver bullet’.
But he said it could be an ‘important and useful tool’ in reducing school disruption in the coming months.
Ms Elnaugh’s tweet comes after Professor Whitty was assaulted in St James’s Park in Westminster in June.
Lewis Hughes, 24, from Romford admitted one count of assault by beating when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July.
Lewis Hughes (pictured), 24, from Romford admitted one count of assault by beating when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July
He was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to pay £100 in compensation.
Kalsoom Shah, from the CPS, said of the conviction: ‘This was a completely unacceptable act of targeting and assaulting Professor Chris Whitty.
‘Lewis Hughes showed little regard for him or relevant social distancing rules when he accosted the Government’s Chief Medical Officer in the street. His behaviour was both shocking and disgraceful.
‘Like everyone else, public figures should be free to go about their day to day work without fear of being targeted and assaulted.
‘The CPS will always work with the police to bring to justice those who break the law in this way.’
The incident was the fourth reported incident of harassment against Professor Whitty.
Boris Johnson said at the time that he was ‘shocked at the despicable harassment’, while Home Secretary, Priti Patel, criticised the ‘terrible’ behaviour directed at a ‘remarkable public servant’
Others, including Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, called for Professor Whitty to be given police protection.
MailOnline has contacted Ms Elnaugh, who appeared as a Dragon in the BBC series Dragon’s Den during its first two series in the mid-2000s, for a comment.