Hancock ‘discussed freezing funds to disability center if MP opposed lockdown’
Matt Hancock discussed withholding funding for a center for learning disabilities to force an MP not to rebel against new Covid restrictions, new leaked news suggests.
The former health secretary and a staffer spoke about warning James Daly that a new center for disabled children and adults would be “off the table” if he voted against the government, according to the Telegraph.
Bury North MP Mr Daly says he is “appalled” and “disgusted” to hear about the WhatsApp conversation but added that the threat was never directed at him.
The discussion was called an “absolute disgrace” by senior Conservative Jake Berry, who has called for Mr Hancock to be “dragged” into the House of Commons for questioning.
But the ex-minister’s team have insisted “what is being accused here never happened” and have criticized the “completely incomplete account” of events.
The talks between Mr Hancock and political adviser Allan Nixon reportedly came ahead of a vote on introducing new coronavirus restrictions in England on December 1, 2020.
Mr Nixon said they had to dangle “our top questions” about some of the newest MPs to enter Parliament in 2019 as part of Boris Johnson’s big election victory.
One example he gave was: “James wants his Learning Disability Hub in Bury – Whips call him and say the health team wants to work with him to deliver this but that’s off the table if he rebels.”
He added that in many cases the re-election of “these guys” is up to us, and we know what they want.
After being told by Mr Nixon that “we should seriously consider using it, in my opinion”, Mr Hancock apparently replied by saying: “Yes, 100%”.
It comes after a spate of revelations after journalist Isabel Oakeshott handed over around 100,000 messages from Mr Hancock’s time as Health Secretary.
He has been accused of rejecting advice from England’s Chief Medical Officer on care homes and covering up concerns that the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” is spreading the virus.
The politician, who would go on to star on I’m a Celebrity, told aides he wanted to “take everyone’s pants off” to make sure they were sticking to Covid rules.
Mr Hancock’s spokesman has responded to the latest leak, saying: “As we have seen this repeatedly over the past week, taking this totally incomplete account and writing it down as fact is completely wrong.
“What is accused here never happened to demonstrate that the story is wrong and to show why such a biased, partial approach to the evidence is a grave error driven by those with a vested interest and have an ax to sharpen.
“The place to look objectively at anything about the pandemic is in the public inquiry.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/07/matt-hancock-discussed-blocking-funds-for-disability-centre-if-mp-opposed-lockdown-18397085/ Hancock 'discussed freezing funds to disability center if MP opposed lockdown'