The life you save could be your own…
By Ricky Browne
Opinions may differ, but as far as Health Secretary Matt Hancock is concerned, he has been completely honest during this pandemic, while saving lives.
“Throughout [this pandemic] we have been straight with people,” according to Matt Hancock, who was speaking in Parliament earlier today.
His comment was in part to repudiate Dominic Cummings, who told MPs yesterday that Matt Hancock should have been fired 15 or 20 times already — especially for lying several times over the pandemic.
Cummings, who also said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was not fit for office, said Hancock “should have been fired for at least 15 to 20 things, including lying to everybody on multiple occasions in meeting after meeting in the Cabinet Room and publicly”.
And for good measure, he added that Hancock was “completely incapable of doing the job.”
Hancock said the allegations were “not true” and that he had been straight with people in public and private throughout.
It appears that there is little love lost between the Health Secretary and Cummings who was seen as Boris Johnson’s closest and most influential aide, and perhaps the second-most important person at Westminster.
But since his departure in November, Hancock noted that the “operation and function” of government had become “easier”.
Later in the day Hancock held a media briefing at Downing Street, where he was pushed to further explain if he had really been honest all along, and had done enough to avoid needless deaths.
But Hancock appeared to fairly unflappable, and handled the questions calmly, leaning on how unprecedented the situation was, and what a good job the government had done in the last few months on rolling out its vaccination programme.
“Of course my heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones,” he said.
But if Twitter was any guide, Hancock’s claims were not being accepted by many.
“Michael Gove thinks we should “celebrate” Matt Hancock. I’m all for that if it can culminate in chucking him into a volcano,” tweeted Katy @ KatyJane101, in a tweet that got 464 likes.
“Not a dormant one either, that said couldn’t we throw Gove in first to make sure it’s hot enough,” replied bachulus in a tweet.
Hancock was also on Twitter – but one of his tweets was lagging Katy’s.
“Fantastic that 10 million vaccines have now been delivered across the East & West Midlands. A huge thank you to everyone involved in rolling out the vaccine. This is a mammoth team effort. The vaccine is saving lives, so when it’s your turn, come forward & get the jab,” tweeted Hancock. He got 283 likes for his trouble, after about an hour.
But it wasn’t all bad — he also got 439 comments. Unfortunately, hardly any of them were very supportive.
“Why are you tweeting, when you could be saving lives?” tweeted Stephen Rowe.
“Jump before you are pushed! Johnson will be planning how to drop the lot on you as we speak!” advised Andrew Scott in a tweet.
While the heat was on Hancock today, Johnson was able to stay largely out of the kitchen. But it may be a different story tomorrow, or whenever Johnson heads his next press conference.
Meanwhile, as cases of the Indian variant continue to increase, there was an undercurrent that the much-anticipated removal of remaining lockdown restrictions on June 21st may have to be delayed – coming straight from the Prime Minister.
“I think the question people want to answer is to what extent is our vaccine shield now going to be enough to allow us to go ahead with 21 June with the unlocking,” Johnson said during a hospital visit this morning.
“Now, as I’ve said many times, I don’t see anything currently in the data to suggest we have to deviate from the roadmap but we may need to wait.”