Matt Hancock today took aim at Sky News’ Covid rule-breakers while being quizzed over the lifting of lockdown measures, saying: ‘I know everyone there is keen to get back to having parties’.
The Health Secretary made the quip, an obvious reference to presenter Kay Burley’s rule-breaching birthday bash, as he tackled a question over the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
He was asked by presenter Sophy Ridge: ‘You want to vaccinate or offer a jab to everyone by the end of July, but you can’t even tell us whether we’ll be able to go on holiday in the summer?
‘That does seem, to some people, a little bit ridiculous.’
But Mr Hancock quickly countered: ‘Well, I know that everybody at Sky News is keen to be able to get back to having parties, and all of us, understandably, want to get back to normal.’
The Health Secretary (pictured) made the quip, an obvious reference to presenter Kay Burley’s 60th Covid-rule breaching birthday bash, as he tackled a question over the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown
The sharp swipe comes after stalwart Sky presenter Ms Burley was taken off air for celebrating her 60th with a Covid-rule breaching party in Soho, London, in December (pictured)
The sharp swipe comes after stalwart Sky News presenter Ms Burley was taken off air for celebrating her 60th with a Covid-rule breaching party in Soho, London, in December.
The party at one point featured a group of 10 inside Soho’s Century Club – despite the Government’s Rule of Six being in place at the time.
The group reportedly included Sky News colleagues Beth Rigby, Inzamam Rashid and Sam Washington.
A group then carried onto a private restaurant, Folie, before four went back to Ms Burley’s West London home – though it is not clear who was in that group.
Ms Burley, who regularly challenged Government ministers over Covid rules as one of the channel’s top presenters, was taken off the air for six months following the breach.
Political editor Ms Rigby and presenter Ms Washington were also been taken off air by Sky, along with North of England correspondent Mr Rashid.
The event was reportedly attended by political editor Beth Rigby (pictured here hugging Kay Burley), who was also taken off the air
Sky colleagues Inzamam Rashid (left) and Sam Washington (right) were said have been involved and were taken off air while an internal inquiry was carried out
Ms Burley later apologised, saying in a Tweet: ‘I want to apologise to you all for an error of judgment. (On the night) I was enjoying my 60th birthday at a Covid-compliant restaurant.
‘I am embarrassed to say that later in the evening I inadvertently broke the rules. I had been waiting for a taxi at 11pm to get home.
‘Desperate for the loo I briefly popped into another restaurant to spend a penny. I can only apologise.’
Mr Hancock’s quip was well-received on Twitter, with one Conservative London councillor, Susan Hall, saying: ‘After that ridiculous question about holidays Matt Hancock gave the best response ever.’
Another said: ‘Well done Matt.’
On Twitter user added: ‘We all know everyone at Sky News is anxious to getting back to having parties is excellent shade from Matt Hancock towards Kay Burley.’
However, not everyone was impressed. One Twitter user described the Health Secretary’s comment as a ‘cheap dig’.
Alongside the swipe, Mr Hancock also urged that the nation needed to ‘be cautious’ on lifting lockdown rules, despite the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout – which has seen more than 17million people receive their first dose.
He said: ‘It is right to be cautious. There are still almost 20,000 people in hospital with Covid right now.
‘And the vaccination program while clearly going very well will take time to be able to reach all people who are vulnerable.
‘We also need to get the second jab to everybody. We’ve got time that we need to be able to get things right.
‘The Prime Minister will set out his road map tomorrow and he’ll set out the full details, taking a cautious and irreversible approach, that’s the goal.’
He warned that the Government would take its time lifting the coronavirus lockdown, despite speeding up plans to rollout vaccines to all UK adults by the end of July.
The Health Secretary said it was ‘right to be cautious’ ahead of Boris Johnson’s big reveal of his roadmap out of restrictions tomorrow.
Mr Hancock confirmed this morning that every adult in the country will be offered at least one dose of a Covid vaccine by the end of July.
The Government previously said it hoped to reach all those aged 18 and over by the autumn, but Mr Johnson aims to greatly accelerate the successful campaign.
Mr Hancock also confirmed that everyone over 50 will be offered at least a first dose by April 15, rather than by May, as previously suggested.
And he also confirmed that one-in-three adults in England has now been vaccinated, with more than 17million people having received their first dose so far.