Matt Hancock appeared “exasperated” during his interview on ITV Good Morning Britain according to Piers Morgan after a grilling over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The Health Secretary erupted at the host and insisted that his team should be “thanked” for their hard work during the pandemic.
Mr Hancock told the programme: “I think we should be on this programme thanking my team. They worked so hard.”
Piers interjected: “Your team have presided over a woeful handling of this pandemic that has lead to us having the worse death toll in Europe; 130,000 people dead.
“I’m sorry if my first thought when you come on Health Secretary is not to thank you and your team for your brilliant handling of the pandemic because I don’t think 130,000 deaths shows you’ve handled it well.
“I’m sorry I’m not thanking you and applauding you.”
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Mr Hancock continued: “The second reason I’m exasperated and answer in this way is because as soon as I start answering this question you cut in.
“What’s the point in coming on if you’re not going to let me answer the question?”
It comes as Mr Hancock declined to apologise after the High Court ruled the Government unlawfully failed to publish details of billions of pounds’ worth of coronavirus-related contracts.
The Health Secretary has faced calls for greater accountability after a judge said he did not publish redacted contracts in accordance with the transparency policy.
“There is no health secretary in history who would have taken the view that they needed to take people off the project of buying PPE in order to ensure that nine months later the Health Secretary didn’t have a slightly bumpy interview on the Marr programme.
“It is not what it is about, Andrew (Marr), it is about doing the right thing.”
He earlier told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that he would publish what is legally required and said that on average the contracts had been published “just over a fortnight later than they should have been”.
“My officials, with my full support, spent every waking hour buying PPE so that even though we came close we never actually ran out of PPE in this country – and they did that even though the paperwork got delayed by, on average, just over a fortnight.
“That’s what the court found and I – and I think any secretary of state in my position – would absolutely back my officials in doing the right thing and saving lives.”