“I read the story on Friday and we’ve got a new Health Secretary in post on Saturday and I think that’s about the right place to proceed in a pandemic.”

Boris Johnson

June 28, 2021

Facts

When Johnson was asked why he failed to sack Hancock for breaching Covid rules by having an affair with his aide, he said: “I read the story on Friday and we’ve got a new Health Secretary in post on Saturday and I think that’s about the right place to proceed in a pandemic.”

This was true as far as it went- but omitted the uncomfortable fact that on Friday, No10 said the PM had accepted an apology from Mr Hancock and considered the case “closed”.

Johnson actually said that he was “sorry” to receive Matt Hancock’s resignation.  

Verdict

This is another example of the familiar political technique of lying by omission. Johnson’s answer gave the impression that he had acted with urgency to dispose of Matt Hancock as Health Secretary for breaking Covid rules. In fact, he had done nothing of the sort. He had actually accepted an apology from Hancock and asked him to stay in office. It was Hancock himself who made his own decision to resign the following day. 

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