A furious Piers Morgan tore into Matt Hancock during Tuesday’s edition of Good Morning Britain, after the health secretary suggested the presenter should be “thanking” the cabinet for their handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When Hancock claimed “we should be on this programme thanking my team”, because “they work so hard”, Piers quickly cut in, explaining exactly why that was not on his agenda.
“Let’s just analyse that, shall we?” the divisive presenter began. “I’m sorry, if you want to play that game with us, you and your team have presided over a woeful handling of this pandemic that has led to us having the worst death toll in Europe.
“So I’m sorry if my first thought when you come on, health secretary, is not to thank you and your team for your brilliant handling of the pandemic. Because I don’t think 130,000 deaths shows that you handled it well.”
Side-stepping Piers’ comment completely, Hancock responded: “Well… the second reason I’m exasperated… is because as soon as I start answering a question, you cut in.”
He then questioned: “What’s the point in [me] coming on?”
Earlier in the interview, the GMB host addressed the recent ruling that Hancock acted unlawfully by not revealing details of contracts his department had signed near to the beginning of the pandemic.
Hancock explained that he would not be apologising over the matter, noting: “I won’t apologise because to apologise would imply that I’d do something differently.
“And given the choices we were faced with in April and May when there were very serious problems with access to PPE and some people were going without and the team were working so hard… to have taken some of the team off that life-saving work in order to complete the paperwork on time instead of just over a fortnight late, that would have been wrong.”
“You were found guilty of unlawful conduct,” Piers pointed out. “It seems to me a strange situation where a cabinet minister representing a government is found guilty of unlawful conduct, but sees there’s nothing to apologise for. Surely, if you’ve broken the law, you should just say ‘I’m sorry I broke the law’, but you seem determined not to do that?”
After Hancock reiterated his comments near the end of his GMB appearance, Piers told him: “I understand, we just expect our cabinet ministers to abide by the law. I don’t think it’s too much to expect, and if you do get caught breaking the law, we just expect you to say sorry. You don’t agree, we’ll have to disagree.”
“That’s it, that’s a fair summary of the situation, I think,” Hancock responded with a grin .
Hancock previously appeared on GMB earlier this month, when Kate Garraway gave him a grilling about the government’s continued advice about the pandemic only listing three key symptoms.
Urging Hancock to review this, Kate – whose husband, Derek Draper, has been in hospital for almost a year after contracting coronavirus – said: “I worry how many lives have been lost by discouraging people to go to their GP if they haven’t got those [three symptoms].”
Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am on ITV.