A Conservative MP has been told he is “in cloud cuckoo land" on live TV after suggesting schools might reopen by early March.
Labour MP Chris Bryant accused Tory backbencher Tom Hunt of ignoring that there are not enough vaccines available for teachers to get their second dose before April.
The Conservative MP also revealed educators may be prioritised for the vaccine in the next phase of the rollout.
The panel on BBC’s Politics Live had been discussing concern over vulnerable children and Hunt claimed a school in his Ipswich constituency believes all local teaching staff can be vaccinated in a short period of time.
The Tory backbencher went on to say: "I don't think we should be waiting for the second dose.
“I think we do know that one dose provides a significant amount of the protection and I think the damage from school closures are such that I think we can get the first dose done and we can give it the three weeks."
Bryant interjected and responded: “The priority lot, the people who are being done now, are getting their second dose on like the 10th and 11th of April.
“So you're not even going to finish the first four priority lots with their second dose, which they have to have because otherwise we've wasted all our time and effort on this, until the middle of April.
"So, if you're waiting to open schools for vaccinations to start for teachers, schools are not going to be opening at all until May.
"We've got to have a much better strategy for re-opening schools."
In reply, Hunt said: "We know that once the priority groups are covered, we do know there's likely to be a discussion about any groups that might need to be prioritised, and I think that teachers will be at the top of that list.
"And I feel confident that we can get to a place where all teaching staff are vaccinated before the end of February and I think that once we're in that place, I think we should be looking to get schools re-open again.”
Shaking his head, Bryant then told the Conservative MP: "You're in cloud cuckoo land, you're in cloud cuckoo land."
At another point in the show, Hunt said: “The Prime Minister has made it very clear that he wants to re-open schools as soon as possible."
“Obviously decisions about who is prioritised for the vaccine are not made by the government but the joint committee but it may well be the case that teachers do get prioritised for the vaccine in the next phase and doing that will mean hopefully that we are in a position to open some of those schools in early March.”