Thu. Sep 28th, 2023


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POLL: Do you accept Matt Hancock’s apology for ‘inadequate’ pandemic response?

2 min read

Matt Hancock gets emotional at the Covid Inquiry

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told the Covid inquiry that the UK’s approach to pandemic planning was flawed with the strategy focussing on disaster clear-up rather than prevention.

Mr Hancock gave evidence to the inquiry on Tuesday and said he was “profoundly sorry” for each death that occurred.

He served as Health Secretary from 2018 to 2021 and admitted that the failure to plan for lockdowns was a flaw in the Government’s “woefully inadequate” pandemic strategy.

Under questioning from Hugo Keith KC, lead counsel to the Covid Inquiry, Mr Hancock explained that it was a “colossal” failure to assume the spreading of the virus could not be stopped.

He said that the UK was too focused on acquiring “enough body bags and on where to bury the dead” and that the “attitude, the doctrine of the UK was to plan for the consequences of a disaster”. He added that this approach was “completely wrong”.

READ MORE: Matt Hancock says he’s ‘profoundly sorry’ for ‘huge error’ in pandemic planning


Mr Keith asked Mr Hancock why the approach to pandemic planning was not changed during his time in office before the first Covid cases hit. The West Suffolk MP explained: “The only answer I can give is because I was assured that we had the best system in place in the world. In hindsight, I wish I’d spent that short period of time [before the pandemic] changing the entire attitude to how we respond to a pandemic.”

The former health secretary added: “I bear responsibility for all the things that happened, not only in my department, but also the agencies that reported to me as secretary of state.”

Mr Hancock said that he hoped the inquiry would ensure the UK was prepared to stop a future pandemic “in its tracks much, much earlier and that we have the systems in place to do that because I am worried that they are being dismantled as we speak.”

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