THE four Conservative MPs who represent Oxfordshire seats all voted down a motion which would have seen NHS staff and carers given weekly tests for coronavirus.

The motion was proposed by Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, and sought to give better protection from Covid-19 to health and care staff.

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

Among the Conservative MPs voting against the motion were Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury; David Johnston, MP for Wantage; John Howell, MP for Henley; and Robert Courts, MP for Witney.

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

Throughout the pandemic, the safety of health and care staff has been of concern to politicians and the public.

Hundreds of health and care staff have died from Covid-19, including staff at the John Radcliffe in Oxford, and there have been worries about a national PPE shortage.

Henley MP John Howell said: "To be very clear, I am not against regular testing of NHS staff. I am in favour of NHS staff testing policy as advised by the Chief Medical Officer.

"The Shadow Health Secretary in his opening remarks at yesterday’s opposition debate said Labour are 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 by a Labour party that could not even agree among themselves what they were asking for.

"Regular testing, including weekly testing if it is deemed necessary, is essentially what the current government policy is and I will continue to support this clinically-informed approach."

The other three Conservative Oxfordshire MPs have been contacted for comment.