MATT Hancock has lashed back at Dominic Cummings for his “completely wrong” claims he lied to the PM about care home testing.
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It is his most outspoken attack yet on the former No 10 chief adviser in response to the bombshell evidence he gave to MPs. He categorically denied allegations he lied about people being sent from hospitals into care homes without being tested.
Mr Cummings said the health secretary should’ve been sacked at least 15 times for failing to tell the truth.
But asked if he’d always been honest, Mr Hancock blasted back: “Yes of course I have, both in private and in public. That’s how I approached the whole thing, so these allegations are completely wrong.”
Pressed on whether he told the PM back in March that people being sent to care homes from hospitals were being tested when he knew they weren’t, he replied: “No, I did not.” And when it was put to him that Mr Cummings surely knew what was going on at the time, he jibed: “Well, maybe he should have.”
The health secretary admitted some elderly patients had to be discharged without being swabbed because there weren’t enough kits available. He added: “The clinical advice at the time was hospital is a dangerous place for people, who might end up getting Covid after they’ve taken the test but before the result comes through.
“The advice was that very few people would be able to pass on Covid if they didn’t have any symptoms, so the testing was reserved for those who had symptoms.”
Mr Hancock defended his record in handling the pandemic and said he oversaw an “extraordinary expansion” in testing capacity.
But asked if he’d follow Mr Cummings in apologising to families who lost loved ones, he replied: “What I’d say is that at the time we followed the best clinical advice.
“Everybody was working as hard as possible to protect as many lives as possible.”