Matt Hancock launched an expletive-laden attack on Michael Gove during the height of the Covid pandemic, leaked Whatsapp messages show – before accusing the then NHS chief of ‘mass f*****g up’
Matt Hancock launched an expletive-laden attack on Michael Gove during the height of the pandemic, it was alleged last night.
The then health minister accused Mr Gove of wanting his job in June 2021 after Gove promised to reduce waiting times on the NHS. And when Mr Gove, the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, was told he would call to explain, Mr Hancock is said to have replied, ‘He should fucking do it. This will be interpreted as a play for my work.’
According to the latest batch of leaked pandemic-era WhatsApp messages from Mr Hancock, published by the Telegraph, it wasn’t the only time he resorted to expletives.
As part of what would be a campaign to get rid of then NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens, Mr Hancock wrote in April 2020 that he ‘should know he’s screwing around big time’.
Based on the leaked reports, Mr Hancock and Dominic Cummings, then chief adviser to Boris Johnson, reportedly tried to get rid of the NHS chief executive for at least 18 months, until he stepped down in July 2021.
Matt Hancock (right) launched an expletive-laden attack on Michael Gove (left) during the height of the pandemic, it was alleged last night
But Mr Hancock also wanted to get rid of Covid scientist Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) for criticizing government decisions. In an April 2020 post, he labeled Sir Jeremy, an expert in tropical diseases who is now chief scientist of the World Health Organization, as “completely sidelined” who “adds no value internally.”
The attack on Mr Gove came after Mr Hancock said he was ‘not at all happy’ that his cabinet rival gave an interview to a national newspaper about the impact of the pandemic on healthcare.
Mr Gove seemed to reveal that his intervention outside his ministerial remit would be controversial, and forwarded the article to Mr Hancock saying ‘hope not too annoying’.
However, in May 2021, the two men – both known to be in favor of strict lockdowns – exchanged friendly messages after Mr Hancock asked Mr Gove what they were trying to achieve at a meeting.
Mr Gove replied: ‘Letting people raise concerns…. before you and I decide the policy’. The health minister replied, “You are glorious.” Six days later, Mr. Gove replied, “I (HEART SYMBOL) you.”
As part of what would be a campaign to get rid of then NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens (pictured), Mr Hancock wrote in April 2020 that he ‘should know he’s screwing around big time’
In another message reported last night, Rishi Sunak – then the Chancellor – appeared to be telling Mr Hancock that Mr Cummings’ time in Downing Street was a ‘nightmare’.
In messages to the future Prime Minister in May 2021, Mr Hancock said: ‘Of all the funk about Dom’s circus, I enjoy the most that he is doing this to secure his place at the heart of the future Sunak government. ‘
When Mr. Hancock added that it was “a clear reminder of how difficult governing was,” Mr. Sunak replied, “It was such a difficult time for all of us. A nightmare we hope we never have to repeat.’
Last night, a spokesman for Mr Hancock reiterated his belief that there was ‘no public interest’ in releasing all his posts ahead of the public inquiry into Covid and that he would respond ‘in the appropriate place, at the inquiry’.