Bandying around ‘hopeless’ criticism of Hancock is wrong, says Justice Secretary

Matt Hancock and Dominic Cummings (House of Commons/PA)
12:12pm, Sun 20 Jun 2021
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The Justice Secretary has criticised calling Matt Hancock “hopeless” after Boris Johnson’s damning messages about the Health Secretary were revealed by Dominic Cummings

Robert Buckland said on Sunday that “to bandy around words like that” does “nobody any service at all” as he insisted Mr Hancock commands the Government’s “full support”.

Mr Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief aide until he walked out of Downing Street in November, revealed a series of WhatsApp messages between himself and Mr Johnson as he continued their war of words.

One exchange included the Prime Minister describing Mr Hancock as “totally f****** hopeless” while discussing testing early in the coronavirus pandemic.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland (Dominic LIpinski/PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Buckland told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “To bandy around words like that I think does nobody any service at all.

“He’s been a most useful and dynamic Health Secretary who enjoys our full support.”

Reminded that they were the Prime Minister’s words, Mr Buckland said: “I’m not going to get into text messages or WhatsApp messages sent between people and then disclosed in a rather unfortunate way.

“I don’t believe that’s actually a reflection of the reality.

“I’ve been working within Cabinet, within Government, throughout this crisis and I don’t detect any suggestion that somewhere there is anything but the fullest confidence of what Matt has been doing and what he continues to do energetically.”

Meanwhile, John Bercow shared his assessment of Mr Hancock after the former Commons speaker revealed he had switched allegiances to join the Labour Party.

“Well I think it would be fair for me to say that I would buy Matt at my valuation and sell him at his and realise a healthy profit in the process,” the former Tory MP told Phillips.

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