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 at the time’ following heavy criticism about his handling of the crisis, including telling young people ‘don’t kill gran’ and failing to shield care homes.
He said the account will detail ‘what it looked like’ from his point of view.
The book is bound to touch on his secret affair with a married aide which broke his own social distancing rules and was caught on camera, ultimately forcing the politician to resign.
Relatives have accused Mr Hancock of trying to ‘cash in’ on the pandemic, with the book 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 also told young people they could kill their grandparents if they got too complacent with social distancing rules in September 2020.
The MP for West Suffolk announced the book last night during an interview with GB News. He said people will ‘have to wait to see the full details of what happened’.
Rumours of the book emerged at the end of last year and will claim Mr Hancock stopped Covid from causing a ‘tsunami of death and deprivation’ that would have destroyed the NHS. It also credits him with leading the race to rollout the vaccine across the UK and worldwide.
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’
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.
He eventually resigned in June after footage emerged of his affair with married aide Gina Coladangelo inside the Department of Health at a time when social distancing rules were in place.
It comes after MailOnline yesterday revealed Mr Hancock has welcomed seven Ukrainian refugees and four of their dogs into his Suffolk home.
Asked about whether he ensured there was a ‘protective ring’ around care homes during an interview with Dan Wooton, Mr Hancock said there is a need to ‘step back’ from individual points and ensure residents are better protected next time around.
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.
MATT HANCOCK: A TIMELINE OF THE FORMER HEALTH SECRETARY’S HANDLING OF THE PANDEMIC
MARCH 26 2020
Matt Hancock was warned by the Care Home Alliance to test all care home residents discharged from hospital
APRIL 11 2020
Mr Hancock blames distribution issues for a PPE shortage that left NHS frontline workers without protective equipment
The Royal College of Nursing said some staff had ‘no protection at all’
APRIL 16 2020
The Health Secretary makes it compulsory for all hospital patients returning to care homes to be tested before being discharged
JUNE 17 2020
Mr Hancock apologises for slapping a colleague on the back in the Commons, breaching social distancing rules
OCTOBER 11 2020
The Health Secretary denies he broke Covid rules by drinking in the Commons bar later than 10pm when a curfew was in place
FEBRUARY 19 2021
Mr Hancock was found to have ‘breached his legal obligation to publish contract award notices’
MAY 26 2021
Dominic Cummings, the PM’s former aid, tells MPs that Matt Hancock told Boris Johnson all hospitalised care home residents would be tested before returning to their home
Mr Cummings said he told Mr Johnson to sack the Health Secretary
MAY 28 2021
Mr Hancock was found to have committed a ‘minor’ breach of ministerial code by not declaring that a company he had shares in was given an NHS contract
JUNE 11 2021
Mr Hancock gives evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into the Covid crisis, denying there was ever a PPE shortage and claiming there is no evidence NHS workers died due to a lack of protective equipment
JUNE 26 2021
CCTV of Mr Hancock and his Parliamentary aide Gina Coladangelo 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
The footage was taken inside the Department of Health on May 6
Mr Hancock subsequently ended his 15-year marriage with his with Martha
JUNE 27 2021
Mr Hancock quits as Health Secretary, saying in a video posted to Twitter that ‘those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them and that’s why I have got to resign’
DECEMBER 17 2021
A synopsis of Mr Hancock’s upcoming book claims he stopped Covid from causing a ‘tsunami of death and deprivation’ that would have destroyed the NHS and ‘led the race to deploy a vaccine on mass scale across Britain and the world’
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.