Matt Hancock arrived at the Covid inquiry this morning to answer questions about the UK’s emergency planning and preparedness. In a session that lasted more than three hours the former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was asked multiple questions about his role in pandemic preparedness.
In front of the inquiry Hancock took the opportunity to publicly apologise to the victims of Covid, adding "I also understand why for some that would be hard to take that apology from me."
Hancock appeared to duck responsibility for the many mistakes made during the pandemic and instead shifted the blame to ‘doctrinal issues’ and lack of more affective earlier intervention in stopping the spread of the Covid 19. He followed up his line of reasoning by telling the inquiry there was too much focus on; “Can we buy enough body bags, where are we going to bury the dead and that was completely wrong."
Hancock told the inquiry that he believed "We've got to be able to take lockdown action which is wider, earlier & more stringent than feels comfortable at the time.”
Hancock's enthusiasm for lockdowns will worry many in Britain who now recognise the damage lockdowns have had in the UK. Following the live broadcast of Hancock addressing the inquiry, many took to twitter to express anger at Hancock’s statement.
Reform Party leader, Richard Tice took to twitter saying “The arrogance of @MattHancock arguing for more longer faster lockdowns when almost everyone sane now admits, as we said at the time, that they caused huge damage. Shocking”
Laurence Fox the Reclaim party leader lambasted Hancock tweeting. “They have learned nothing. Earlier, Harder and harsher lockdowns would have helped???”
Media commentators also took to twitter to criticise Hancock’s pro lockdown stance.
Today’s inquiry appearance for Matt Hancock was supposed to be focused on pandemic preparedness rather than pandemic response which will be discussed in front of the inquiry at a later date.
For more reporting on the Covid pandemic and its response check out www.ukreporters.co.uk