Ex-British Health Secretary Matt Hancock discussed having UK police “get heavy” on those who broke the lockdown rules, new leaked text messages have revealed.
WhatsApp messages released as part of The Lockdown Files, a series by the Telegraph, show how the Conservative MP gave the country’s most senior civil servant “marching orders” to enforce the lockdown strictly.
The texts revealed that in August of 2020, Hancock and then-Downing Street permanent secretary Simon Case were concerned that police were not doing enough to enforce the Covid rules on lawbreakers.
“Blimey! Who actually is delivering enforcement?” Case said to Hancock.
“I think we are going to have to get heavy with the police,” Hancock replied.
Notably, British Ministers told the public that the police were operating independently of government in enforcing lockdown rules throughout the pandemic.
Hancock also ultimately resigned from his role after being caught having an affair in breach of his government’s own Covid advice.
The texts reveal Case mocking people trapped in hotel quarantine, saying to Hancock in February of 2021: “I just want to see some of the faces of people coming out of first class and into a Premier Inn shoe box.”
He asked Hancock “how many people we locked up in hotels yesterday,” to which Hancock replied “None. But 149 chose to enter the country and are now in quarantine hotels due to their own free will!”
“Hilarious,” Case responded.
Other messages show Hancock’s assistants asking if they could “lock up” Nigel Farage, after the Reform UK party leader posted a photo of himself drinking a pint at a pub, apparently in breach of the quarantine rules at the time.
The files show that Boris Johnson said it was “superb” that two individuals had been fined £10,000 for coming back to the UK without entering quarantine. This was said just weeks before staff at Number 10 Downing Street held a controversial illegal party themselves, violating the government’s own rules.
Investigation into alleged Downing Street parties finds 'serious failure' to observe high standards https://t.co/JHeDDjvpXf
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 31, 2022
The link to the Telegraph report can be viewed below.
📲 The first conversation took place in late August 2020 after Mr Case, then a permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office, asked Mr Hancock, the then health secretary.
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— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 2, 2023