Former Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has launched legal action against Matt Hancock after joining actor Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party.

Mr Bridgen was expelled from the Conservative Party after claiming the COVID-19 vaccine was “the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust”.

Former health secretary Mr Hancock, who was suspended from the Tories for appearing on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, condemned Mr Bridgen’s comments as “antisemitic”.

Mr Bridgen announced on Wednesday he has now submitted a defamation claim to the High Court as he said Mr Hancock’s comments were an attempt to “shut down valid concerns expressed by me”.

He has launched a crowdfunding appeal for his legal action and said any excess funds will be donated to charities “supporting the COVID-injured and COVID-bereaved”.

The MP for North West Leicestershire also announced he has joined the Reclaim Party, which was launched by actor Laurence Fox in 2020.

He will stand as a candidate for his new party in the seat he has held since 2010 in the next general election, which Mr Bridgen predicted will be this autumn.

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