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11th May 2021

Matt Hancock weak on voter fraud and social care during broadcast round

Glad it's in the Queen's Speech then

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

Matt Hancock grimaces during a downing street press conference.

The health secretary asked people to be cautious as lockdown released but was unconvincing on other matters

Ahead of The Queen’s Speech, in which the government sets out their plans for the upcoming year, Matt Hancock wouldn’t be draw on the legislative plan for adult social care.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged multiple times, including in his 2019 manifesto, that the broken-beyond-repair UK care system would be addressed by his government – he said they’d try to fix it.

However, the health secretary declined to outline any plans for remedying social care announced by the government.

Speaking to Today on BBC Radio 4, when questioned on why targets on care had been missed by consecutive governments, Hancock pivoted to other policy areas – like “getting Brexit done.”

“If you look at the track record of the Boris Johnson administration since the election in 2019 I think you can say nothing but that we make commitments and then we deliver on them.”

Talking to Good Morning Britain, he said “this is an issue that has been ducked by governments of all colours.”

The health secretary also told Today the “four tests”  driving lockdown lockdown easing are going well, but there is also reason to be cautious.

“We want to move to a situation that is more reliant on personal responsibility,” Hancock said, adding “we must be careful that we don’t get a new variant which knocks the whole thing over.”

“When you say new variant could come that have complete vaccine escape, well of course a new disease could come as it did 18 months ago.”  he said.

“We’re more confident with the vaccines effectiveness against the Indian variant than the South African variant… but these are reasons to take a cautious, a cautious approach at the borders.”

This comes after cases of the Indian variant in the UK are on the rise.

When challenged about what went wrong with respect to the handling of Covid-19, and why an inquiry was being delayed now Covid is in remission in the UK, Hancock was evasive.

“Of course we’re going to have an inquiry, but we’re learning all the way through – right from the start, he said.

“So, there’ll be a moment for that, but it’s not now, we’re still managing this pandemic.”

Adding: “There’ll be a moment for [the inquiry], but it’s important that there isn’t this impression that somehow nobody learns anything then everybody learns everything, that’s not how the world works.”