Disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock is writing a tell-all book about his experiences during the Covid pandemic, he confirmed last night.
Mr Hancock has promised to disclose ‘what actually happened’ following heavy criticism about his handling of the crisis, including telling young people ‘don’t kill gran’ and failing to shield care homes.
He announced the book last night during an interview with MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton on GB News, claiming his account will detail ‘what it looked like’ from his point of view
It is expected to brag about his role in the vaccine rollout, despite claims responsibility for jabs was taken from him by the Prime Minister due to other Covid mishandlings.
The book is bound to touch on Mr Hancock’s secret affair with a married aide which broke his own social distancing rules and ultimately forced the politician to resign.
Relatives have accused Mr Hancock of trying to ‘cash in’ on the pandemic, with sales expected to earn him up to £100,000. But the royalties will reportedly be donated to NHS charities.
Mr Hancock oversaw a policy that allowed untested hospital patients to be discharged into care homes at the height of the first wave — seen as the defining factor behind the huge death toll in the sector.
He was also accused of fuelling fear by telling young people they could kill their grandparents if they got too complacent with social distancing rules in September 2020.
Mr Hancock resigned as Health Secretary in June 2021 after video emerged of the married MP groping and kissing Gina Coladangelo inside the Department of Health months earlier when he advised people not to hug relatives.
It comes after MailOnline yesterday revealed Mr Hancock has welcomed seven Ukrainian refugees and four of their dogs into his Suffolk home which he now shares with Gina after leaving his wife and their three children.
Mr Hancock revealed he is writing a book that will set out ‘what it looked like’ from his role during the Covid crisis and all the intricacies of ‘what actually happened at the time’
He told GB News: ‘I am writing a book about the experience, what it looked like, from being health secretary, what actually happened at the time to make sure that we set the whole set of details out, absolutely to cover important questions like this and also the broad piece because you’ve got to look at all of this’
Asked about whether he ensured there was a ‘protective ring’ around care homes during last night’s interview, Mr Hancock accepted residents should have been better protected.
He said: ‘I think it’s very important, especially given the role that I’ve had, that I both answer these questions but also set out the whole piece.
‘I am writing a book about the experience, what it looked like, from being health secretary, what actually happened at the time to make sure that we set the whole set of details out, absolutely to cover important questions like this and also the broad piece because you’ve got to look at all of this.’
On whether he regretted telling young people in September 2020 ‘don’t kill your gran’ by breaching social distancing rules when they could be infected, he said the Government had to ‘communicate as effectively as possible’ to drive down transmission.
He added: ‘The thing is Dan, and you’ll have to wait for the book to see the full details of what happened, the thing is we were saving lives.
‘And we were working incredibly hard to do that. And the scale of deaths from Covid without action would have been very significant.’
In the wide-ranging interview, Mr Hancock defended discharging elderly Covid patients back into care homes without a swab to confirm whether they were still infected.
He said the UK did not have ‘the tests or testing regime we needed’ in March 2020 and those available had to be ‘clinically prioritised.
‘We didn’t have enough tests available to be able to do that without removing tests from other people whom they were a life saving matter,’ he said.
The Care Provider Alliance, which represents Britain’s care homes, previously revealed it warned the Department of Health at the outset of the pandemic that without testing care home residents ‘there is no way of knowing whether they are going to infect others’.
Mr Hancock didn’t make testing for hospital discharges compulsory until mid-April.
The Prime Minister’s former aide Dominic Cummings accused Mr Hancock of telling Boris Johnson at the start of the pandemic that everyone would be tested before returning to care homes.
More than 66,000 deaths involving Covid have been logged in care homes since the start of the crisis, with a fifth of these occurring in the first three months of the pandemic, official figures show.
He said: ‘In a situation like a pandemic, where you have a limited capacity for testing and we needed a bigger capacity and we were building that bigger capacity, you’ve then got to decide how we use these tests.
‘And as the politician in that environment, you’ve got to follow the clinical advice on what use of test is most likely to save lives.
‘There has been an analysis done on how the virus was most likely to get into care homes. And the proportion of infections that got in from discharges, according to the evidence, is around two per cent. Because actually people who work in care homes live in the community.’
A report by Public Health England found that 1.6 per cent of infections in care homes were triggered by people bringing the virus back from hospitals.
Mr Hancock pointed to rules he introduced in summer 2020 that stopped staff working between different care homes which he said ensured care homes were better protected during the second wave.
The former Health Secretary was also quizzed on whether he withheld information from the Prime Minister on how effective the Covid jabs were against the virus.
The Daily Telegraph reported last June that Mr Hancock did not share Public Health England data showing the vaccines were effective against Delta during a meeting on whether Freedom Day should be postponed.
Mr Hancock said: ‘I don’t recognise that at all. I certainly didn’t withhold data. I can be categoric about that.
‘My approach was to use all the data we possibly could to make decisions. The critical point about lockdown is that it was necessary until the vaccine could make us safe.
‘In this case there was no question of withholding data, but I will look into it for you and make sure that I have a look at that report and what actually happened and what led to it being written.
‘You’ll have to wait for the book on that one because I don’t know anything about it.’
He also dismissed the idea that the Government’s flu pandemic plan from 2011 could have been followed to avoid lockdowns.
Mr Hancock said that while some parts of the plans were ‘incredibly helpful’, it was written ‘for a different disease’ and ministers had to make decisions around a new coronavirus that was ‘unprecedented’, noting that there was a ‘fog of uncertainty’ due to a lack of data.
He said: ‘The problem wasn’t the forecasts; it was that the forecasts were coming true. That was the fundamental challenge.
‘You have to look at not only the economic costs in terms of mental health and the cost in terms of people not being able to access other types of treatment and the costs of inaction and we could see that the costs of inaction were going to be absolutely enormous.’
He also defended closing schools during lockdowns as necessary to ‘stop the growth of the pandemic which otherwise was going to overwhelm the NHS and kill many more people’.
Mr Hancock was at the centre of controversies throughout his time as Health Secretary. He was forced to defend a lack of PPE for front line workers during the first wave and the failure to test elderly hospitalised Covid patients before they were sent back to care homes
Rumours of the book, which will reportedly earn Mr Hancock up to £100,000, emerged at the end of last year and will claim he stopped Covid from causing a ‘tsunami of death and deprivation’ that would have destroyed the NHS and led the race to rollout the vaccine across the UK and worldwide. It is not clear whether it will touch on his affair with Gina Coladangelo (pictured)
The MP said: ‘We had to communicate as effectively as possible the implications of stopping this disease from spreading and killing more people.
‘We were struggling to save lives and we were working incredibly hard to do that.
‘The scale of deaths from Covid without action would have been astronomical.
‘The total number of excess deaths for a normal year in the UK in 2020 was no higher than, and on some measures lower than, the average.’
During Mr Hancock’s time in charge he was accused by the PM’s former aide Dominic Cummings of permitting Covid to spread ‘like wildfire’ in care homes after only introducing compulsory testing for hospital patients going back to care homes in April 2020.
He oversaw the distribution of vital PPE to frontline workers which health bosses warned left some social care and NHS staff with ‘no protection at all’.
He later provoked outrage by denying there was ever a PPE shortage and claiming there is no evidence NHS workers died due to a lack of protective equipment.
Mr Hancock resigned from the cabinet in June last year after details of his affair with Parliamentary aide Gina Coladangelo were revealed.
CCTV of them kissing was published on the front page of The Sun newspaper, along with the revelation that he had broken strict Covid restrictions in place at the time.
He previously apologised in June 2020 for breaching social distancing rules by slapping a colleague on the back in the Commons. But he denied breaking Covid curbs by staying late in the Commons bar when a 10pm curfew was in place.