CONSERVATIVE MPs have raged against health bosses calling on unwell Brits to wear masks to protect the NHS, branding the medics “control freak socialists”.

It comes after Professor Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), urged people to wear masks or stay home if they are suffering from a cold or flu.

The NHS across the UK has been pushed to the brink of collapse by a surge in cases of both Covid and flu, with SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford saying the unprecedented situation requires an emergency, COBRA-level response.

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Jason Leitch, Scotland’s national clinical director, echoed Hopkins in saying it would “be no bad thing” for people to wear masks in public to help protect the NHS.

However, Conservative MPs are unhappy with the medical advice from experts, claiming they are taking “the public for compliant fools”.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Tory MP Philip Davies raged: “The control freak socialists at the UKHSA are never going to change – you cannot make a crab walk straight.

“Despite the fact that they know the public wearing of face masks makes absolutely no difference at all to the transmission of a virus they will always pull the lever of state control and project fear.

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“I am afraid that any attempts to reintroduce mandatory mask wearing will rightly be met with widespread civil disobedience.

“They clearly take the public for compliant fools — but they will be in for a shock should they try it again.”

In fact – contrary to Davies’s claims that masks make “absolutely no difference at all to the transmission of a virus” – a large-scale study reported by Stanford University in the US found that wearing masks “is an effective way to reduce the occurrence of Covid-19”.

“We now have evidence from a randomized, controlled trial that mask promotion increases the use of face coverings and prevents the spread of Covid-19,” Stephen Luby, professor of medicine at Stanford, said.

The National: Sir Desmond Swayne

Regardless, other Tory MPs also hit out at the advice to wear masks, with former minister Desmond Swayne (above) calling it “madness”.

“Masks were one of the more dystopian aspects of the Covid restrictions. The marginal impact on spread is disputed, but for the social beings that communicate so much by facial expression it is deeply sinister.

“Just remember that we made children wear these filthy rags at school all day, because adults were scared.”

Craig Mackinlay, the Tory MP for South Thanet, claimed that the crisis afflicting the NHS was at least partly due to lockdown.

He claimed: “The NHS faces additional pressure and backlogs this year precisely because of the virtual shutdown of elective treatments during the Covid period. Extensive flu and background Covid is adversely affecting the elderly leading to yet more pressures.

“Common sense needs to apply. If you're feeling very unwell, best to act as we've always done and take sensible precautions – however this should not mean going back to mask wearing and nanny state edicts.

“We need to get the UK economy firing on all cylinders and learn from the daft excesses that were applied and failed over the Covid times.”

The anger from the raft of Conservatives comes as another of their colleagues, Andrew Bridgen, is accused of spreading misinformation for claiming that the Covid vaccine is actually DNA-altering gene therapy.