The former Health Secretary is an unreliable narrator when it comes to his handling of Covid. This may trouble his publishers, who have paid him for a “tell-all” book.
For instance, Mr Hancock has forgotten ever claiming at the start of the pandemic that he had “thrown a protective ring around our care homes”. In fact, he was bold enough to deny using the phrase then, subsequently telling Andrew Marr: “Well I said that much later, about what we were doing for the winter plan, and it’s been interpreted.”
This is untrue. Unfortunately for Mr Hancock, and his loose grip on recent history, people called journalists filmed him saying it and even wrote down what he said.
There is a record of him repeatedly claiming to have thrown a “protective ring” around care homes. For example, at a Downing Street press conference on 15 May 2020, Mr Hancock said: “Right from the start, it’s been clear that this horrible virus affects older people most. So right from the start, we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes.”
Why does this matter? Because instead the Government’s policy killed a lot of people. High Court judges have ruled that the Government acted unlawfully when it decided to discharge untested hospital patients into care homes at the start of the pandemic. As we report today, ministers and officials missed more than 20 warnings about the fatal dangers of their approach. Their policy killed tens of thousands, campaigners believe.
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