Greg Clark confirms that despite agreeing to at his committee appearance, Dominic Cummings has not provided any evidence to back up his allegations against Matt Hancock in time for today’s hearing, nor has he provided an explanation
Hancock says “no” to question of did he say anything to PM that he knew to be untrue
Did he say people got the treatment they deserved knowing it to be untrue? Says no, he was advised at time that people were getting treatment they deserved
Hancock says it’s “not a fair recollection” that he said everything is fine on PPE in March 2020. He “can’t recall” the alleged incident that he subsequently blamed Simon Stevens and Chancellor for a block on buying PPE and that Mark Sedwill doubted his honesty
Hancock says he never blamed the Treasury for any procurement issues
On testing in care homes, MH said he said in 3/20 people would be tested when testing was available. “On care home policy throughout we followed clinical advice”. They didn’t have testing capacity and were advised (by who?) of risks of false positives
They were told the strongest route for Covid into care homes was community transmission. In terms of what he told the PM, “I make commitments to do things, I get on and do them and they are delivered”
Hancock picks up on Cummings’ use of the word “would” in terms of people in care homes would be tested. He adds “It is telling no evidence has been provided yet”
Hancock says he has approached the pandemic with “honesty and integrity” and says he had “no idea” why Cummings went for him. Says he knew the allegation the PM wanted him fired because someone briefed the newspapers. But he claims he has had PM’s support throughout
Hancock says Health Secretaries have to deal with small outbreaks of disease/viruses all the time. “I’m currently dealing with a monkey pox outbreak” ?!??!
There’s been no updates on monkey pox on the website since 2019 so I assume this isn’t major… 🥶
Hancock says “I don’t think so” as to whether he blamed the scientists in private for their advice
A new revelation I think: Hancock said on 25 January 2020 he was told it would take five years to get a coronavirus vaccine and he demanded one within a year. Got JVT to take charge of it
Also new I believe: WHO advice at time was not to close borders because it would delay spread only by a week. Hancock says this was even if every country closed borders. He now says it’s clear if all countries take action it can make a difference
Hancock says his “reflection at the time ... was the only way the world could’ve stopped the virus getting out of China is that China itself had stopped people leaving China”
Blimey: Hancock asked DH and officials for reasonable worst case scenario planning assumption on 27 Jan 2020 and on 31 Jan it came back at Cobra, based on Spanish flu, that the planning assumption was for 800,000 deaths. “I was determined that that would not happen on my watch”
This is a new figure and it’s a far cry from the public messaging from the top of Govt throughout
Struck by Hancock’s evidence that he and Cummings are broadly aligned on something crucial: that their instincts at the start of the pandemic were to be more concerned than the scientific consensus including WHO and Sage. My halfway analysis for @theipaper…
The question is why did both of these men, who admit to being forceful and forthright in getting their opinions heard - not challenge the consensus more robustly? Was the PM the block because he didn’t take the pandemic more seriously in Feb/early March?
Hancock has used the phrase “I’m a team player” a number of times. Not so hidden message is that naughty Dominic Cummings is NOT a team player
Hancock says he “sadly” expects another pathogen like this “in less than 100 years”

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More from @janemerrick23

11 Jun
BREAKING: cases of the India Delta variant have risen from 12431 to 42323 in *a week* - 21 June looking increasingly unlikely
PHE analysis suggests Delta is 60% more transmissible than Kent/Alpha
Please do not shoot the messenger! Thank you in advance
Read 6 tweets
9 Jun
Since reading Gareth Southgate’s Dear England piece, this line - “we are independent thinkers” - has stayed with me. That’s it isn’t it?
We lament division, rightly, when it causes harm but we have always embraced debate, constantly questioning group think. This isn’t unique to England or the U.K. of course, but diversity of opinion has been a common quality of successful political parties, culture, the arts
We’ve always embraced individuality and questioning of authority. It’s why tribal politics makes me - and many others - feel a bit itchy. The MPs I admire the most are those who challenge their own parties’ orthodoxy.
Read 7 tweets
27 May
At the daily Downing St press conference on Sunday 5 April 2020 I tried to ask Jenny Harries, alongside Matt Hancock, what the plan was for testing in care homes. I always remember this because I had to follow up twice to get an answer because she wasn’t completely clear 1/
The answer in the end was they were doing 5 in each setting & where there had been outbreaks. Harries said “we wouldn’t necessarily test everybody”. This sounded odd at the time - this isn’t hindsight - & I kept asking when there would be a plan to do proper testing in care homes
Anyway, if anyone is interested, here is the transcript courtesy of - it’s quite long
Read 4 tweets
26 May
I feel like I might be in a minority but I’m approaching the Cummings hearing like this: he’s a super-whistleblower offering us a dress rehearsal for the full public inquiry
Huge admission right at start: “the truth is senior ministers, senior officials senior advisers like me tell disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect of its government in a crisis like this. When the public needed us most the government failed”
“I’d like to say to all the families of those who died unnecessarily how sorry I am for the mistakes that we made and for my own mistakes at that”
Read 77 tweets
12 May
BREAKING: I’ve learnt that Sage are holding an urgent meeting tomorrow to discuss a dramatic rise in cases of the Indian variant, with some scientists fearing delays to roadmap:…
Cases to be published tomorrow are expected to show a tripling of B1617.2 in the past week…
The PM warned today that this variant is of “increasing concern here in the U.K.” Next Monday lifting will go ahead but possible of delays to easement for 21 June…
Read 6 tweets
12 May
PM says a *full public statutory inquiry* will be held into the government response to the pandemic. That means powers to call witnesses and demand files/data.
He says it will be a “significant burden” on ministers and scientific advisers to testify so right time for inquiry to start is in a year’s time after a possible 3rd wave
Having covered Hutton and Chilcot inquiries and knowing how much work goes into witnesses preparing testimonies etc, I think it’s right to have the inquiry next spring. We need key witnesses like Whitty Vallance etc on the case every day of this pandemic particularly if 3rd wave
Read 4 tweets

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