ANDREW Bridgen has announced he has formally sued former health secretary Matt Hancock for libel over a tweet.

The former Tory MP made the announcement - which has been described as a "pathetic publicity stunt" - as he was unveiled as the Reclaim Party’s first MP after joining Laurence Fox’s party.

Hancock, who lost the Tory whip over his appearance on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here, branded Bridgen’s comments as “antisemitic” after the MP compared Covid-19 vaccines to the Holocaust.

At a Reclaim Party event on Wednesday morning, Bridgen said he had submitted a defamation claim to the High Court, saying the former health secretary’s comments were an attempt to “shut down valid concerns expressed by me”.

READ MORE: Covid vaccines row MP to join Laurence Fox's Reclaim Party after Tory expulsion

A spokesperson for Hancock said: "Matt will defend this absurd action, which is a pathetic publicity stunt.

"The claim has no credible basis and when Matt wins the case, he will also seek to recover all costs.

"Vaccines save lives, and Matt will always defend science and progress against unfounded conspiracy theories that put peoples’ health at risk."

Bridgen was ejected from the Conservatives after he said Covid vaccines were “the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust” and claimed they were “causing serious harms”.

Tory Chief Whip Simon Hart said at the time Bridgen had "crossed a line, causing great offence in the process".

It was understood the Conservative disciplinary panel found against him for the vaccines claim.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the comments as “utterly unacceptable”.

A regular vaccines critic, Bridgen accused the Tories of kicking him out “under false pretences” and had stated his intention to run against the party at the next election, as he hit out at “corruption, collusion and cover-ups”.

Earlier this year, he was also handed a five-day suspension for breaking the MPs’ code of conduct banning lobbying.

READ MORE: What is the Reclaim Party and what do they stand for?

At an event in Westminster on Wednesday morning, the North West Leicestershire MP – who has been sitting as an independent – said: “There is a huge chasm now between our Parliament and what goes on in Westminster and the people.”

He said he was joining Fox’s party “because they respect free speech as the basis for every aspect of our democracy and our society”.