politics

'Hancock shows again it’s one law for us & a complete lack of decency & honesty'


To Matt Hancock rules are something that other people should follow.

It was the Health Secretary who wanted people to face ten years in jail for breaching quarantine regulations.

And he was the one who hailed the police for fining people who refused to self-isolate.

And it was Hancock who said he would back the police if they wished to investigate Prof Neil Ferguson, the government adviser who broke lockdown rules by seeing his lover.

When it comes to his own behaviour it is an entirely different story.

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While ministers were telling us not to mix indoors except for work purposes, he was filmed getting intimate with his aide Gina Coladangelo.

Throughout the pandemic millions of people have made huge sacrifices in order to comply with the Covid restrictions.

They have missed funerals and weddings, been denied the chance to hug loved ones and suffered prolonged spells of loneliness.

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This Twitter user compared Matt Hancock to Alan Partridge
This Twitter user compared Matt Hancock to Alan Partridge

Someone as vain as Hancock will be no stranger to gazing in the mirror.

But did he ever reflect on how his behaviour would look to those who have given up so much in the last 18 months?

Perhaps he is too arrogant to care.

In Hancock’s world it is perfectly acceptable to hire Ms Coladangelo, a close friend from university and the director of a lobbying firm, as an adviser.



This Twitter user mocked Hancock up in a famous Little Britain scene
This Twitter user mocked Hancock up in a famous Little Britain scene

And he saw nothing wrong with then appointing her as a non-executive director at DHSC, making her a member of the board that scrutinises his department.

But then he saw nothing wrong with his former pub landlord winning a lucrative Covid contract or his failure to declare, in a breach of the ministerial code, he had a stake in his sister’s company which won an NHS deal.

Hancock’s haughty attitude might be excusable were he good at his job.



This Twitter user could not believe it
This Twitter user could not believe it

It was on his watch that thousands of patients were released from hospital without being tested into care homes.

Far from throwing, as he claimed, a protective ring around care homes, they were allowed to become death traps.

It was on his watch that frontline NHS staff were obliged to work without the proper protective kit.

And it was on his watch that billions of pounds was spent on a test and trace system, which, according to report by the National Audit Office yesterday, is still not functioning properly.



The memes just kept coming
The memes just kept coming

Under any other government each one of these would be considered a resignation matter, let alone his flagrant breaching of social distancing rules.

Long gone are the days which saw Lord Carrington resign over the invasion of the Falkand Islands or Estelle Morris quit as Education Secretary because she failed to meet her promise to improve literacy and numeracy levels.

What dignity is left in public life has been demonstrated by Prof Ferguson who immediately resigned when his error of judgement was revealed or Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, who quit after breaking lockdown rules.



So maybe that's why he was pictured leaping over a park fence...
So maybe that’s why he was pictured leaping over a park fence…

Don’t expect ministers to behave with such honour while Boris Johnson is in Downing Street.

The Prime Minister considers the Hancock case “closed.”

This is what happens when you hand responsibility for upholding standards to a serial adulterer who was twice sacked for lying.

And it is why this is an administration where you can break the ministerial code, as in the case of Priti Patel, and remain in post or sign off a planning development that favours a Tory donor, as in the case of Robert Jenrick, and face no repercussions.



Hancock waves happily before his appearance on the Andrew Marr show - with aide Gina Coladangelo following
Hancock waves happily before his appearance on the Andrew Marr show – with aide Gina Coladangelo following

Even if the Prime Minister privately thinks you are hopeless, as in the case of Hancock, you can keep your job.

When Johnson has such a cavalier disregard for standards in public life it is not surprising that his ministers believe it is one rule for them and one for everyone else.

While holidaymakers have been banned from travel ministers have continued to make overseas trips.



Matt Hancock with his wife Martha Hancock
Matt Hancock with his wife Martha Hancock

When Michael Gove’s app pinged after watching the Champions League final in Portugal, he was conveniently placed on a pilot scheme that allowed him to avoid self-isolating.

Ministers Liz Truss, James Cleverly and Thérèse Coffey all attended the Brit Awards as guinea pigs for the Government’s Events Research Programme for the reopening of large gatherings.

Any moral compass this government might have possessed has been knocked off course by the deep cynicism that festers at the heart of No 10’s thinking.

They have such a low view of the public that they initially thought we would be reluctant to comply with the Covid restrictions.

It turned out that people were willing to abide by the rules for the greater good.

It is only ministers who have scorn for the concepts of integrity, decency and honesty.





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