“Our world-class NHS is well prepared and we are doing everything we can to protect the public.”

Matt Hancock, UK Government Press Release

February 3, 2020

Facts

Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Welcome Trust and a member of the SAGE committee on Covid-19 later wrote “The fact that the UK did not have eyes on the virus had serious consequences: the UK could not see the epidemic as it truly was, making it harder to calculate how it was developing.”

In his book Spike: The Virus vs. The People - the Inside Story he quotes the following comments made by Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s senior adviser during this period: “Nothing worked. The preparations were a farce, the plan was a catastrophe and had to be abandoned, and the management of many crucial things was a disaster.”

Cummings added: “The PM spent most of February dealing with a combination of divorce, his current girlfriend wanting to make announcements about their relationship, an ex-girlfriend running around the media, financial problems exacerbated by the flat renovation, his book on Shakespeare, and other nonsense, because obviously he never took the whole thing seriously.”

By the end of April, the UK had the worst death rate in Europe

Verdict

Matt Hancock may well have believed that his claim that the British government was “doing everything we can to protect the public” was true. It is disputed by powerful figures also in a position to know the reality of what was happening. 

When we asked Matt Hancock to respond to the claims laid out in this website, a spokesperson said: “This list is false, wildly inaccurate, and in some cases possibly even defamatory. For example claiming that some of Matt's claims in the Commons were in defiance of the ministerial code, when they were in fact accurate. The priority throughout this unprecedented pandemic has been saving lives.” 

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