The political career and conduct of Health Secretary Matt Hancock is about to come under the microscope as MPs prepare to grill him on how, as Health Secretary, he has led the Government response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Hancock will face the joint health and science select committee to respond to a host of damning accusations made by former Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings.
Mr Cummings seven-hour testimony to the MPs included claims Mr Hancock was a liar, should have been sacked and made mistakes that led to thousands of deaths.
The questions Mr Hancock will have to answer
- Do you believe your professional conduct is at the level the public can expect of a Secretary of State?
- Were you aware of senior officials telling the Prime Minister you should have been sacked?
- Are you aware if former Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill said he did not have faith in you?
- Have you watched Dominic Cummings’s evidence session in full and were you shocked by the claims?
- Do you think Prime Minister is unfit for office?
- Do you support claims the PM dismissed the seriousness of the pandemic early on?
- Do you agree with Mr Cummings that the PM was distracted by his domestic life (with his now wife, Carrie) in the early months?
- Did you hear him say the “bodies pile high” quote in his study?
- Do you think Mr Cummings was fit to be advising the PM?
- Do you think you are being scapegoated?
- Did you misjudge the Government’s preparedness for a pandemic, leaving it ill-equipped?
- Have you felt out of your depth?
- Have you lied in Parliament/in public/to officials about the Covid-19 strategy?
- Have you ever leaked information from a Cabinet or Covid meeting?
- Did you promise to test all patients being discharged into care homes immediately, without considering testing capacity?
- Were you aware, at the time, the opposite was happening?
- Did you mislead the PM over this promise?
- Do you accept thousands of lives were lost as a direct result of this and will you apologise?
- Do you regret telling the public you would put a “protective ring around care homes”?
- Did Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance tell you not all Covid patients received the treatment they needed?
- Were your promises – that everyone who required care would receive it – broken due to the NHS not having the capacity to respond?
- Why did the NHS not have the capacity to treat all Covid patients?
- Did you order officials to change tact when the test and trace system was being built in order to meet the testing target you set?
- Would you agree that doing so had a negative impact on the strength and performance of test and trace?
- Did you know Mr Cummings was ringing around telling people to ignore Hancock’s orders and did you speak with him about this?
- Is test and trace doing a good enough job now?
- Why was the personal protective equipment (PPE) stock depleted at the start of the pandemic and what did you do to resolve this?
- Did you claim funding for PPE was blocked by the Treasury?
- Did you say everything was “fine” relating to supplies for PPE when this was not the case?
- Do you feel you did enough to protect health and social care staff?
- Did you clash with the PM over the November lockdown and subsequent lockdown decisions?
- Did the PM attempt to overrule scientists to try and “save Christmas”?
- Did the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, argue against locking down for a second time?
- Do you think the same mistake is being made around the 21 June lifting of lockdown measures?
- Would you rather delay the 21 June lockdown date for a few weeks until schools close for summer/more adults are vaccinated?
- Do you want to keep masks on public transport or in some indoor venues?
- Were you frustrated India was not added to the Red List sooner?
- Did you clash with the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, over plans not to have Portugal and Malta on the Green List?
- Would you prefer no international travel at all for the time being?
- If you dispute the allegations made against you, do you believe holding a statutory public inquiry sooner would be the best way to get to the truth?
The committee, co-chaired by senior Tories Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark, has since said key allegations in Mr Cummings’s attack on Mr Hancock would have to be considered “unsubstаntiаted” if he fаils to provide proof.
They hаd аsked Mr Cummings for evidence – including documents prove his clаims thаt the then Cаbinet secretаry Sir Mаrk Sedwill lost confidence in Mr Hаncock over his аlleged lаck of honesty – by Fridаy. As of Wednesdаy, he hаs fаiled to do so.
Mr Cummings’s serious аllegаtions will no doubt be brought up my MPs аnywаy, аs well аs а а host of other difficult but importаnt questions the Heаlth Secretаry must аnswer.