Leaked texts suggest that the Matt Hancock plotted when to release details of a new Covid variant for maximum impact
British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock leaves 10 Downing Street in London, United Kingdom on June 23, 2021 © Getty Images / David Cliff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Former UK health secretary Matt Hancock wanted to “frighten the pants off everyone” to ensure compliance with the government’s Covid-19 restrictions, a trove of leaked text messages has revealed.
More than 100,000 text messages were leaked to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. Among them is a purported exchange between Hancock and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case in which Case suggested in January 2021 that “fear” would be a “vital” factor in ensuring UK citizens’ compliance with Covid restrictions.
They also appear to show that Hancock discussed when to reveal information to the public about the discovery of a new strain of the virus in the hope of maximizing the impact of lockdown rules.
“Rather than doing too much forward signalling, we can roll pitch with the new strain,” a purported message from Case reads. Hancock reportedly responded: “We frighten the pants of (sic) everyone with the new strain.”