Sun 05 March 2023:
Former British Health Secretary Matt Hancock is continuing to face criticism because of the leak of WhatsApp messages sent between him and other ministers and officials at the height of the Covid pandemic. The messages, which were leaked by the Daily Telegraph, now show that Hancock wanted to announce a new virus variant “frighten the pants off everyone.”
Amid fears of a massive backlash from people, Hancock and his team were thinking about how to divert the anger. Damon Poole, his media advisor, said in the WhatsApp chat, ”Rather than doing too much forward signalling, we can roll pitch with the new strain.”
Hancock replied, “We frighten the pants off everyone with the new strain.” He added, “But the complication with that Brexit is taking the top line.” This was an apparent reference regarding the media’s coverage of the United Kingdom’s (UK) exiting the European Union (EU).
“Matt Hancock discussed ‘deploying’ new virus variant to ‘frighten the pants off everyone’ as former Health Secretary demands immunity on care home deaths during the pandemic
‘When do we deploy the new variant,’ Mr Hancock said.”
— Amrita Bhinder 🇮🇳 (@amritabhinder) March 5, 2023
“Yep that’s what will get proper behaviour change,” Poole said. “When do we deploy the new variant,” Hancock said.
In another conversation thread on WhatsApp, Poole said, “Been thinking more about this and think we need to be more cautious. The strain that is. Think you made the point earlier but we need to keep schools off paperwork/agenda.”
The media advisor added, “Worth doing a bit about no leaking at the top I think. Big risk with the variant, right-wing papers go for a renewed push for let it rip on the basis the vaccines strategy is undermined. Hancock replied, “That’s why we reassure on the vaccine.”
These leaked messages have renewed the demand for a public inquiry into the handling of the health crisis, the Mirror report said.
Earlier, Matt Hancock apologised for the impact of the leaks and said he already gave the messages to a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic. A survey for GB news found that 50% of the public supported an immediate inquiry while 13% were against it.
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