A Wiltshire MP is facing heavy criticism after saying Covid rules were about the suppression of free speech.

In a speech at the National Conservatism Conference on May 15, Devizes MP Danny Kruger said: “Always remember Covid. You saw what they did – what we did, we Conservative MPs – at that time. And many good conservatives and communitarians supported it.

"We supported it because at first it was about duty. About putting the old and frail first for once. About stopping the relentless commercial world while we looked after our neighbours

"But in the end it wasn’t about that, was it? It was about ‘the science’. The effective suspension of Parliament. The suppression of free speech and dissent. Closing schools. Closing churches, so that not even a solitary priest in his own church could give Holy Communion to himself

"The first line of Magna Carta says this: the Church in England shall be free. But Magna Carta didn’t matter. During Covid the Church in England was not free. It was shut.”

Magna Carta is a 13th-century document and was the first written statement that declared the king and his government are not above the law. 

Leader of the Wiltshire Liberal Democrats councillor Ian Thorn reacted to the speech and said it was ‘outrageous’ and ranked alongside Kruger’s statements on abortion.

Last year Kruger said he did not agree “that women have an absolute right to bodily autonomy” during a parliamentary debate.

Cllr Thorn said: “My overriding view is that Danny Kruger has said pretty outrageous and inappropriate things in the past about women and abortion and this probably ranks alongside it.”

He added: “Very large numbers of people died both in the UK and across the world. If we had Danny Kruger’s way vastly more would have died. He was speaking at a conference where lots of very stupid things were said so I suppose he fitted in quite well.”

Independent councillor for Westbury Matthew Dean also criticised Mr Kruger and said: “It was an extraordinary thing for him to say bearing in mind he is a member of the government, and he supports the government.

“Andrew Bridgen lost the whip for not supporting the government’s message over Covid and now perhaps Danny Kruger should consider his position.”

MP Andrew Bridgen was kicked out of the Conservative party for comparing Covid vaccines to the Holocaust.

The conference is a project of the Edmund Burke Foundation, a Washington DC “public affairs institute” which has held conferences across Europe and America since to promote the ideas of national conservatism.

Mr Kruger declined to comment when contacted by this newspaper.