Former UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock Tells Covid Inquiry ‘I’m NOT A Liar’

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Matt Hancock

The former UK health secretary ‘Midazolam’ Matt Hancock has told the ‘Covid’ inquiry that he’s “not a liar”.

Hancock furiously denied lying to his colleagues and attacked ‘malign’ Dominic Cummings in his evidence to the Covid Inquiry.

Following several allegations that he misled colleagues about what his department was doing in the early stages of the pandemic, Hancock flatly rejected the idea insisting there was no proof.

The Mail Online reports: He accused former No10 chief Mr Cummings of creating a ‘culture of fear’, saying there was a ‘lack of generosity or empathy in understanding the difficulty of responding to such a challenge’.

He said mechanisms must be put in place to stop ‘malign’ characters such as Mr Cummings derailing the response to crises in future.

However, Mr Hancock struggled as he was grilled on his claim that he first urged Boris Johnson to trigger a lockdown on March 13, 2020.

Inquiry counsel Hugo Keith pointed out that was not included in the ex-minister’s Pandemic Diaries memoir, and there was no written evidence to support it.

Mr Hancock highlighted an email to the PM from that day where he urged a ‘suppression strategy’. But Mr Keith shot back: ‘Did you use the words ”immediate” or ”lockdown”?’

The exchange drew a fresh allegation from Mr Cummings, who posted on the X social media site that Mr Hancock was ‘flat out lying’ about when he supported a lockdown. The PM eventually announced the move on March 23, and it took legal effect on March 26 – but is generally accepted to have been too late.

Mr Hancock also admitted that in the early stages of the pandemic he did not read the minutes from SAGE, instead relying on chief medical adviser Chris Whitty to fill him in on the discussions. It was only ‘some time in February’ 2020 that he asked for them to be included in his Red Box.

Denying that planning had been non-existent, he insisted that ‘there were plans’ and some parts of the reaction by the Department of Health were ‘very strong’.

But Mr Hancock acknowledged that preparations were ‘inadequate’ and the department needed to ‘tool up’, saying it was ‘blazingly obvious’ that DoH would have more work to do during a pandemic.

He said there were ‘inexplicable’ delays to the Cabinet Office signing off an action plan, and suggested colleagues had not ‘cottoned on’ to the scale of the Covid wave coming.

In other twists and turns today:

Mr Hancock claimed that he told Boris Johnson on March 13, 2020 that there needed to be a lockdown. But inquiry counsel Hugo Keith pointed out that was not included in his book on the pandemic, and there was no written evidence;

Mr Hancock pointed to an email to the PM that day where he urged a ‘suppression strategy’. But Mr Keith shot back: ‘Did you use the words ”immediate” or ”lockdown”?

Messages shown to the hearing indicated that as late as March 12 Mr Hancock was arguing that the Government should be pushing back against people calling for tougher action;

Science and health chiefs Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty complained in private messages in July 2020 about Mr Johnson and Mr Hancock claiming they did not know about asymptomatic transmission by March;

Mr Hancock rejected suggestions he had wanted personally to decide ‘who should live and who should die’ if hospitals became overwhelmed;

Mr Johnson asked Mr Hancock in messages on March 7, 2020 whether there was anything more he could do to help, and the then-health secretary answered that they should turn the crisis into a ‘national effort’ to help old people;

Mr Hancock was not aware of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme until the day it was announced, and privately warned it should not be extended.

Mr Hancock quit the Cabinet in June 2021 after it emerged he had been caught on CCTV kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo in his office. 

He now sits as an independent MP after losing the party whip for appearing on ITV‘s I’m A Celebrity reality TV show.

A number of witnesses – including Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Mr Cummings, former chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and former deputy cabinet secretary Helen MacNamara – had made reference to Mr Hancock ‘lying’, ‘getting overexcited and just saying stuff’ and saying things ‘which surprise people because they knew the evidence base wasn’t there’.

But Mr Hancock said: ‘I was not. You will note that there’s no evidence from anybody who I worked with in the department or the health system who supported those false allegations.’

Did anyone mention Midazolam during the inquiry?

Niamh Harris
About Niamh Harris 15103 Articles
I am an alternative health practitioner interested in helping others reach their maximum potential.