Englishmen telegraph The UK has obtained 100,000 text messages from former health secretary Matt Hancock, about how the British government conspired to “scare the pants off everyone” and “when will we deploy the new variant?”
The Telegraph received WhatsApp messages from journalist Isabelle Oakeshott, who co-wrote a book with Hancock called “The Pandemic Diaries”. They show former health secretary Matt Hancock discussing it with the media on 13 December 2020, warning Tory MPs are already angry at the prospect of stricter lockdown measures at Christmas and have “implied rather than signalled more”. We can roll the pitch with a new strain.
“We’ll scare the pants off everyone with a new strain,” Hancock wrote.
“Yes it gets the right bahavior [sic] Change,” replied Poole.
“When do we deploy a new variant?” Hancock asked.
“Thinking about this and thinking we need to be more careful. It’s stressful,” Poole wrote back. “Think you’ve brought this up before, but we need to get schools off the paper work/agenda.” Christmas Lockdown 2020 was announced on December 19 as a surprise.
In January 2021, Hancock was discussing further measures with Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, including “the wearing of more masks … in all settings outside the home”. Case wrote that the “fear/guilt factor” was “important” in getting greater lockdown compliance.
“Fundamentally, we need to get compliance,” Case wrote, but some measures — like a ban on fishing — “would be ridiculous if it looked like we suddenly decided fishing was the first step toward Stage 5!”
“I honestly don’t move on any of the little things unless we have a lot going on. All that’s left is the big one [sic] The objects are nurseries and workplaces,” Hancock wrote.
Case replied, “I agree – I think that’s about right. The little thing looks ridiculous. Increasing the messaging – the fear/guilt factor is key.”
In June 2021, Hancock was forced to step down as health secretary after photos emerged showing him breaking social distancing rules to pursue an extramarital affair with Gina Coladangelo, a £15,000-a-month UK Department of Health employee. During that time both Hancock and Coladangelo married and later left their families.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to resign on September 6, 2022 over the so-called Partygate affair, when his staff held parties at 10 Downing Street as the country was ordered into total lockdown.