Boris Johnson 'Nationally Distrusted', Cabinet Secretary Told Matt Hancock

Top civil servant's warning revealed in latest WhatsApp leak.
Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, told Matt Hancock that Boris Johnson was a 'nationally distrusted figure'.
Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, told Matt Hancock that Boris Johnson was a 'nationally distrusted figure'.
Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street via PA Media

Boris Johnson was a “nationally distrusted figure” as prime minister, the country’s top civil servant said, according to the latest leaks of Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages.

The comments from October 2020 were published by The Daily Telegraph, as part of the latest tranche of leaked correspondence from the former health secretary.

Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, made the remark to Hancock as the pair discussed Covid testing capability.

Hancock writes: “I am going to get stuck in and drive this roll out. The PM is completely right on this. Delegate delegate delegate.”

Case agrees: “My concern is that we can figure out how to test, what we don’t know how to do is get people to isolate.

“We are losing this war because of behaviour – this is the thing we have to turn around (which probably also relies on people hearing about isolation from trusted local figures, not nationally distrusted figures like the PM, sadly).”

The health secretary responds “sure – but even with a massive rocket up them the lorries won’t roll until late next week – so we can fix the new isolation rules between now and then”.

Earlier, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said the messages revealed only a “partial account” of government decision making.

Speaking to the BBC, he said they merely gave a “view into the psyche of Matt Hancock”.

But the messages not only show what Hancock had said, but what government colleagues said to him in reply, as in this case.

The messages were shared with the Daily Telegraph by journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who co-authored Hancock’s memoir the Pandemic Diaries, which covered his time as health secretary.

Hancock has condemned the leak as a “massive betrayal” designed to support an “anti-lockdown agenda”.

In a statement this week, Hancock said all the material for his book have been made available to the official Covid inquiry. Oakeshott has said the disclosures are in the public interest.


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