Vaccines minister says Matt Hancock was not 'economical with the truth' on PPE

11 June 2021, 09:52 | Updated: 11 June 2021, 09:57

Do you think Matt Hancock has been economical with the truth?

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Health Secretary Matt Hancock was not 'economical with the truth' over Covid testing and personal protective equipment (PPE), the vaccines minister told LBC this morning.

Nadhim Zahawi told Nick Ferrari that Mr Hancock had shared "all the information that is available to him" when he was grilled by MPs yesterday.

It comes as Mr Hancock faces accusations of “trying to rewrite history” after telling a parliamentary inquiry into the Covid-19 response that there was never a national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Mr Hancock was accused by former Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings of repeatedly lying about the supply of protective equipment but denied the allegations at the Health and Social Care Committee.

"It is an imperfect world that we live in," Mr Zahawi said, "we entered this pandemic with some massive challenges."

READ MORE: Matt Hancock tells MPs he has 'no idea why Cummings has a problem with me'

READ MORE: 'My dad went to work using gloves and a scarf as PPE': Bereaved son responds to Hancock

Asked about Mr Hancock's assertion that no NHS workers had died as a result of PPE shortages, Mr Zahawi continued: "If you look at the National Audit Office report when they look at the national system, and they did their own survey of the national system, there was not a national shortage."

But the minister said he did not want to "disregard" what the body said about the experience of NHS staff, who he said "may have faced certain challenges and shortages".

Nadhim Zahawi has defended Matt Hancock after Thursday's committee session
Nadhim Zahawi has defended Matt Hancock after Thursday's committee session. Picture: PA Images

It follows over four hours of questioning at the Health and Social Care Committee, where Mr Hancock struck back at Mr Cummings' accusations of lying, failing on care homes and "criminal, disgraceful behaviour" on testing.

But a senior MP chairing the committee said the claims would remain unproven because he has failed to provide supporting evidence.

Mr Hancock said he has "no idea" why he was targeted by the former aide but was aware he wanted him sacked, suggesting the aide briefed his desires to newspapers.

READ MORE: Health Secretary says 'another pathogen like Covid will happen within 100 years'

READ MORE: UK to donate 100 million Covid vaccines to countries within weeks, PM announces

"I think the best thing to say about this, and this will be corroborated by lots of people in Government, the best thing to say, is that Government has operated better in the past six months," the minister said.

On testing, Mr Zahawi said: "When we entered this pandemic, we could only do 2,000 tests a day but over the last seven days we did over six million tests in the United Kingdom.

"We will learn the lessons there of course - there's going to be a public inquiry which will look at all the evidence and we will report to all the select committees as well."

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Lee Anderson

Police 'looking into hate speech complaint against Lee Anderson' after MP said Sadiq Khan was controlled by Islamists

Richard Tice said he turned down two Tories who tried to join the party

Reform UK leader Richard Tice says he rejected two Tory MPs who tried to defect in the last year

Michael Tomlinson repeatedly refused to answer Nick Ferrari's question

Nick Ferrari cuts off minister who refuses to answer his questions nine times over Lee Anderson's 'Islamophobic remarks'

Rishi Sunak is facing a revolt for sacking Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson refuses to apologise for 'Islamist' comments as he doubles down on criticism of Sadiq Khan

Rishi Sunak is facing a revolt for sacking Lee Anderson

PM denies Tories have 'Islamophobic tendencies' as minister says Lee Anderson's comments were 'profoundly wrong'

Dame Esther Rantzen has told LBC why she is campaigning to change the law on assisted dying

‘Dogs get treated better than humans’, Esther Rantzen says, as TV legend demands assisted dying law change

Rishi Sunak (l) puts on a brave face to the Tories by-election defeats on a visit to Harlow. New Kingswood MP Damien Egan (top r) and Wellingborough MP Gem Kitchen (bottom r)

Rishi Sunak begs frustrated Tories 'not to put Starmer in power' after party suffers double by-election disaster

New Labour MPs Damien Egan and Gen Kitchen

'They are not very good results': Tory chairman admits after double by-election drubbings as MPs call for tax cuts

The peer was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

'It was known yesterday' Azhar Ali had made more Israel conspiracy theory comments, peer tells LBC

Scammers should be treated like violent criminals, a senior anti-fraud officer has said.

Scammers should be treated like violent criminals, senior anti-fraud officer tells LBC

The vessel is due to lead the largest Nato exercise since the Cold War, involving more than 40 vessels, after its sister ship was forced to cancel its deployment because of an 'issue' with its propeller shaft.

HMS Prince of Wales docked while it should be 'defending our interests abroad', Minister brands it 'not acceptable'

Lord Rose took aim at government quangos in the wake of the Post Office scandal

'They grow like multi-headed hydras': Asda chairman takes aim at government quangos after Post Office scandal

Lord Stuart Rose speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Police 'not picking up the phone' to attend shoplifting 'endemic', Lord Stuart Rose tells LBC

Dentists who set up practice in areas of England with poor access to NHS care will be offered a £20,000 bonus

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins stumped on exact figure for new dentists as ministers plan £20,000 ‘golden hello’

When asked by Nick to sum up the Government in one word, Ms Keegan said: "Delivering."

Gillian Keegan rates the Government using Ofsted descriptions - and it's not 'Outstanding'

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan tells LBC she is ‘very, very confident’ of 15 hours of free childcare by April

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan tells LBC she is ‘very, very confident’ of 15 hours of free childcare by April