Politics 17/03/2021

"Go to the doctor!": controversy in Spanish Parliament over PP MP's reaction to Errejón's speech on mental health

Romero has apologised for "an unfortunate phrase".

2 min
Íñigo Errejón

BarcelonaIn all legislative chambers there is a background murmur - less so since covid has limited attendance - and the Spanish parliament has always had its share of disputes away from the microphones. This Tuesday a shout from PP MP Carmelo Romero has sparked controversy. "Go to the doctor!" he recommended Más País leader Iñigo Errejón, when the latter finished his speech focused on mental health. "We have to double the number of psychologists in public health because someone to accompany you when you're alone and you're having a terrible time cannot be a luxury for those who can afford it," Errejón had finished saying just before Romero's shout. The disapproval of most of the chamber made itself heard immediately, with shouts towards the PP MP and a round of applause directed at Errejón.

The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, responded that he felt "total empathy" for the importance and urgency of the issue, and also thanked him for leaving aside the harsh tone of Parliament and asking about a topic that was not strictly political. Mental illnesses have also multiplied as a result of the pandemic, according to multiple studies. The PP MP has ended up apologising on Twitter for his off-colour comment: "It was an unfortunate phrase".

"I heard laughter from the right-wing bench when I asked about an issue as important as the mental health pandemic," Errejón begun his speech. He referred to data from the latest CIS barometer, which shows that "six out of ten Spaniards have symptoms of depression and anxiety" and also stressed that, according to data from the Spanish government, "every day 10 people commit suicide". "It is not a topical issue, but it is of the utmost importance," he stressed. Once the control session has ended, Errejón regretted on Twitter the reaction of some PP MPs: "That deputies of the right have shouted at me 'Go to the doctor' for asking the president about mental health shows all that remains to be done. Never again the stigma or shame," tweeted Errejón once the control session was over.