Matt Hancock fights back tears as he reveals step-grandfather died with Covid-19

1 December 2020, 20:09 | Updated: 3 December 2020, 11:22

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Matt Hancock fought back tears as he revealed his step-grandfather died last month after catching Covid-19.

The Health Secretary told MPs on Tuesday of the death of his "loving grandfather” in Liverpool on November 18.

He was speaking in the House of Commons at the end of a six-hour debate on the new tier restrictions to be implemented in England from Wednesday, replacing the national lockdown.

Mr Hancock said: "We know through repeat experience what happens if this virus gets out of control. If it gets out of control, it grows exponentially, hospitals come under pressure, and people die.

READ MORE: MPs vote in favour of new Covid lockdown Tiers

"This isn't just speculation, it's a fact that has affected thousands of families including my own.

"We talk a lot of the outbreak in Liverpool and how that great city has had a terrible outbreak and got it under control."

Mr Hancock's voice cracked with emotion as he added: "This means more to me than I can say because last month my step-grandfather caught Covid there and on November 18 he died.

"In my family, as in so many others, we've lost a loving husband, a father, a grandfather to this awful disease.

"So from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you to everyone in Liverpool for getting this awful virus under control.

"It's down by four-fifths in Liverpool, that's what we can do if we work together in a spirit of common humanity. We've got to beat this, we've got to beat it together."

MPs later backed the new system of coronavirus tiers for England as Boris Johnson survived the threat of a significant revolt from Conservative rebels.

They voted in favour of the new restrictions by 291 votes to 78, a Government majority of 213.

The support paves the way for 99 per cent of England to enter the toughest Tier 2 and 3 restrictions when the second national lockdown ends on Wednesday.

With Labour ordering its MPs to abstain, the measures passed despite senior Tories having lined up to criticise the measures.

In an attempt to lessen the scale of the rebellion, the Prime Minister earlier announced a one-off payment of £1,000 for pubs forced to remain closed under the restrictions, though the move was branded "derisory" by the trade.