Matt Hancock expressed his “great disappointment” in Isabel Oakeshott for what he called a “major betrayal and breach of trust” when she gave the Daily Telegraph access to WhatsApp chats from his tenure as health secretary.
Hancock gave Oakeshott the WhatsApp conversations while they were working together on a book on the pandemic.
So far, messages from the former prime minister Boris Johnson, Prof. Chris Whitty, the cabinet secretary Simon Case, Lee Cain, Johnson’s former director of communications, and Emma Dean, Hancock’s adviser, have all been disclosed.
In the newest discoveries, texts from Hancock and Gavin Williamson reveal the former education secretary stating that teachers complained about a shortage of PPE in order “to have an excuse not to teach”, remarking afterwards that certain teaching unions “really do just hate work.”
Hancock said in the released messages that he would prefer to “leave out” the requirement to test anyone entering a care facility from the public because it “muddies the waters.”
Reacting to the latest discoveries, Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said “I hope the inquiry provides its conclusions soon, so we can learn important lessons from this.”
“People across the country will want to know what happened within the care homes, the decisions surrounding those, with loved ones that affected them. These are the details we want to know…”
“Perhaps the inquiry could do a limited study, focused on the care homes and produce that much earlier.”
When questioned if he would release his personal messages, Ellwood quipped, “No, I wouldn’t do that. I think it was done for personal gain. Let’s leave it at that.”
Oakeshott claimed that she made the texts public because it would take a long time for the official Covid inquiry to come to a conclusion and that doing so might lead to a “colossal whitewash.”