Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
'Is Hancock still fit for purpose?' Nick Ferrari challenges Business Secretary
28 May 2021, 10:01
Nick Ferrari challenges Business Secretary to answer if Matt Hancock is "still fit for purpose", after former chief aide Dominic Cummings' damning allegations on Wednesday.
Former chief adviser Mr Cummings appeared before ministers to give evidence regarding the Government's early handling of the pandemic and made multiple explosive claims.
He told the panel that Matt Hancock is guilty of “criminal, disgraceful behaviour” that cost lives, including allegedly lying about care home Covid tests, and said he should have been sacked.
Nick Ferrari quoted to Kwasi Kwarteng that Matt Hancock is "under mounting pressure to explain why the Government failed to protect care home residents at the outset of the Covid pandemic."
"How much pressure do you think Matt Hancock is under? Is he still for purpose?"
Mr Kwarteng responded, "I think Matt has done a very good job under extremely difficult circumstances."
"People with relatives in care homes might not agree," Nick interjected.
Mr Kwarteng continued, "It was a very difficult situation...I'm appalled at the number of deaths, I think we're all struck by that. My colleague Nadhim Zahawi in the business department, he lost an uncle to coronavirus. We've all been affected by this.
"As far as Matt is concerned, he was Health Secretary at a difficult time. He was Health Secretary when we had a pandemic, the like of which we hadn't seen for 100 years. He was 100% committed to saving lives, he provided leadership, he worked 20 hour days and was completely committed to that.
"I can't hand on heart said we did everything right. I don't think any politician in the world can say that they've got everything right, but he did a very very good job."
Nick responded, "Not with care homes, come on Mr Kwarteng...he got that calamitously wrong, did he not?"
Mr Kwarteng replied that maybe the Covid testing infrastructure "wasn't built quickly enough" but Mr Hancock "did it effectively."