Matt Hancock “isn’t useless at all”, justice secretary Robert Buckland has said.
Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser, last week revealed a series of WhatsApp messages between himself and the prime minister.
One exchange included Johnson describing Hancock as “totally f****** hopeless” while discussing testing early in the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Buckland said Hancock was “a most useful and dynamic health secretary who enjoys our full support”.
Asked “just how useless” Hancock was, the justice secretary said: ”He isn’t useless at all.
“I’ve known him for many years and I’ve seen him step up to the plate throughout this crisis, working tirelessly on our behalf to make sure that our response to Covid, the health service response, the health response was as vigorous as possible.
“It’s been a huge challenge for him, a huge challenge for all of us but to bandy around words like that I think does nobody any service at all.”
John Bercow, the former Commons Speaker who has defected from the Conservative Party to Labour, also gave Phillips his view of Hancock.
“Well I think it would be fair for me to say that I would buy Matt at my valuation and sell him at his and realise a healthy profit in the process,” the former Tory MP told Phillips.