MPs demand ‘drunk on power’ Matt Hancock be ‘dragged’ back to the Commons to answer for pandemic WhatsApp leaks

01/03/2023 - LONDON - Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has disputed claims he rejected expert advice on Covid tests for people going into care homes in England at the start of the pandemic. WhatsApp messages leaked to the Daily Telegraph newspaper suggest Mr Hancock was told in April 2020 there should be "testing of all going into care homes". Government guidance later mandated tests only for those leaving hospital. A spokesman for Mr Hancock said the messages had been "doctored". "These stolen messages have been doctored to create a false story that Matt rejected clinical advice on care home testing. This is flat wrong," he said in a statement. The Telegraph has obtained more than 100,000 messages sent between Mr Hancock and other ministers and officials at the height of the pandemic. The texts were passed to the newspaper by journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who has been critical of lockdowns. Ms Oakeshott was given copies of the texts while helping Mr Hancock write his book, Pandemic Diaries. PICTURE: No10/UNPIXS 01/03/2023

MATT Hancock should be “dragged” before Parliament to explain his pandemic threat to withdraw funding for disabled kids, MPs demanded today.

Former minister Jake Berry said Mr Hancock must’ve been “drunk on power” or “willing to do anything to get his own way” when he considered using a disability centre as a bargaining chip.

Matt Hancock is facing an uproar after leaked texts show he was willing to use a disability centre as bargaining chip for votes during the pandemic

Shocking leaked WhatsApp messages from December 2020 show the ex-Health Secretary’s aide suggest funding for the centre be taken “off the table” if sceptical MP James Daly opposed plans for a stricter lockdown.

Right hand man Allan Nixon said: “I think we need to dangle our top asks over some of these 2019 intake MPs who are going off the boil this coming week.

“James wants his Learning Disability Hub in Bury – whips call him up and say health team want to work with him to deliver this but that’ll be off the table if he rebels.”

The ex-Health Secretary replied: “Yes 100%”

Bury North MP Mr Daley said he was “appalled” and “disgusted” the disability hub was suggested as a way to coerce him.

But in the end no threat was ever made to him.

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay told TalkTV: “I voted against these measures because I felt they were nonsensical.

“I feel vindicated.”

The messages sparked an uproar in Westminster, with MPs demanding Mr Hancock explain himself.

Mr Berry told Times Radio: “Once you get to the point that you are weaponising the provision of care to disabled children, I think you have crossed the line.

“As a local MP and the father of a son with additional needs, I know how desperately provision of this sort of care is needed in the local area.

“I think it’s a despicable and appalling way for Matt Hancock and his advisors to behave.

The ex-minister added: “Sometimes in politics it’s not about what you say when people are listening to you – it’s about what you say when they’re not.”

A spokesperson for Mr Hancock said the WhatsApp chat was an “entirely partial account”.

They added: “The missing context here is vitally important because this vote was critical for saving lives.

“What’s being accused here never happened, demonstrating the story is wrong, and showing why such a biased, partial approach to the evidence is a bad mistake, driven by those with a vested interest and an axe to grind.

“The right place to consider everything about the pandemic objectively is in the public inquiry.”