POLITICS
10/06/2021 10:24 BST | Updated 10/06/2021 16:42 BST

Matt Hancock Denies Lying To Boris Johnson About Covid Pandemic

Health secretary tells MPs he has "no idea" why Dominic Cummings launched such an explosive attack on him.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Matt Hancock has denied ever lying to Boris Johnson as the government grappled with the coronavirus pandemic.

Dominic Cummings last month accused the health secretary of having lied to Johnson “numerous” times.

The prime minister’s former top adviser said Hancock incorrectly told Johnson in March last year that people discharged from hospitals were being tested for Covid before going into care homes.

He said Hancock should have been sacked from the cabinet “for at least 15 to 20 things, including lying to everybody on multiple occasions”.

Appearing before the Commons health and science committees on Thursday morning, Hancock was asked if he had ever said anything to the PM he “knew not to be true”.

The health secretary told the MPs: “No.”

Asked if he had told Johnson people would be tested before they went back into care homes, he suggested he had said people would be tested in the future when possible rather than claiming it was already happening.

“We set out a policy that people would be tested when tests were available, then I set about building the testing capacity to be able to deliver on that,” he said.

Hancock added: “I make commitments to do things. I get on and do them. And then they are delivered.”

Cummings had told the same committee in May: “We were told categorically in March that people would be tested before they went back to care homes. We only subsequently found out that that hadn’t happened.

“Now all the government rhetoric was ‘we put a shield around care homes’ and ‘blah, blah’. It was complete nonsense.

“Quite the opposite of putting a shield round them, we sent people with Covid back to the care homes.”

Hancock told MPs it was “telling” that Cummings had not provided the committees with evidence that he had lied.

Hancock said had “no idea” why Cummings had launched such an explosive attack on him.

The health secretary said he knew Cummings wanted him to be fired because “he briefed the newspapers at the time”.

He added: “Government has operated better over the past six months”.

Cummings left his job in Downing Street in November last year.