BBC host makes Matt Hancock dig during ‘Any Questions?’
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The BBC political correspondent and Any Questions? host challenged the Housing Secretary over the swathe of allegations moved against Matt Hancock in recent weeks. Mr Hancock was forced to apologise on Friday after pictures emerged of him seemingly breaching his own social distancing guidance with an aide last month. Following a lively debate among programme guests over whether the Health Secretary should resign, Mr Mason said: “Final question from me. What do you have to do to get sacked from this Government?”
The swipe had audience members in Winchester bursts out laughing and clapping, with panellists Emily Thornberry commenting in the background: “Yeah!”
Some members of the audience could also be heard briefly hollering at Mr Mason’s question before Mr Jenrick was allowed to respond.
The Housing Secretary said: “You get a round of applause for saying that but what we’ve actually been doing over the course of the last year?
“We’ve been working unbelievably hard, working with people across the country to get the country through a uniquely challenging period.
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“And fortunately we are starting to get through that. As we sit here tonight, good news coming through on the vaccine programme.
“Half of the 25 to 29-year-olds have had their first does, a third of those 18 to 24-year-olds have had it.”
Mr Jenrick added: “So lots of things are finally moving in the right direction and that’s what the Government needs to focus on right now.”
Since Boris Johnson secured his 80-seat majority in the Commons in December 2019, no member of his Cabinet had resigned.
Matt Hancock apologises for breaking coronavirus rules
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far resisted calls to sack Mr Hancock, who said he was “very sorry” for letting people down after The Sun first reported he was having an extramarital affair.
The COVID-19 Bereaved Families For Justice group, which represents those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic, also called for Mr Hancock to go.
In a letter to Mr Johnson, the group said it had broken its “position of neutrality on ministerial conduct” to urge Mr Johnson to relieve Mr Hancock of his job.
Mr Hancock is also deeply unpopular with some Conservatives who believe that he has been an obstacle to the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
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In a statement, the Health Secretary said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances, I have let people down and am very sorry.
“I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family on this personal matter.”
A Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister had accepted Mr Hancock‘s apology and “considers the matter closed”.
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