Susanna Reid Isn’t Taking Matt Hancock’s Complaint About ‘Endless’ Covid Scrutiny

Susanna Reid has won praise for her interviewing “masterclass” as she refused to let ex-health secretary Matt Hancock dismiss questions about his Covid-19 rule-breaking.

Hancock broke coronavirus social distancing rules during the pandemic by having an affair in his ministerial office with aide, Gina Coladangelo.

When appearing on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity this year, he told his campmates it was because he “fell in love” and that he was now looking for “forgiveness”

In his latest media appearance on Good Morning Britain, the outgoing MP was given a torrid time by Reid as she attempted to pin him down on whether he actually broke the law, and not just the guidelines.

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Susanna Reid: “You are pivoting to social distancing. I’m not talking about social distancing guidelines. You definitely broke those. You were definitely not a metre away from Gina.

“I’m talking about the law. England was at stage 2 of covid restrictions.”

Matt Hancock: “I’m not sure that’s the case.”

SR: “I am absolutely sure that was the case.”

MH: “I don’t have the dates in front of me. And…”

SR: “You were health secretary at the time. You brought the regulations in.”

MH: “Of course. Of course. And I don’t have them in front of me…”

SR: “If anybody should have known the law, it would be you.”

MH: “Of course. Absolutely.”

In another exchange, Reid looked stunned as Hancock became exasperated about having to explain himself – telling the host he had been through it “endlessly”.

MH: “Anyway, look, I have been through this endlessly, this point. And I have explained it…”

SR: “I’m sorry, you say you’ve been through this endlessly but you don’t know what the law was at the time?”

MH: “I do. I’m explaining…”

SR: “You said you don’t and you don’t have the dates in front of you. But when I gave you the dates, you said it wasn’t in existence at the time.”

MH: “That’s right. The guidelines were in place. And I accept that I broke the guidelines but I didn’t break the law.

“I have a bigger point, Susanna, which is it’s not important.”

SR: “Isn’t it?!”

MH: “They were my guidelines and I shouldn’t have broken them.”

SR: “And your laws?”

MH: “And when there were laws in place, they were my laws. And I didn’t break them. But it doesn’t matter whether it was a guideline or the law.

“Guidelines meant that there were guidelines to you, to say it’s best not to do this. But because I signed off the guidelines, I should have abided by them. That is what I’m seeking forgiveness for.”

On Twitter, a clip of the interview – which has racked up more than one million views – was hailed for its “stone cold brilliance”.

Elsewhere in the interview, Hancock insisted that the £320,000 fee he received for going on I’m A Celebrity was not his “primary” motivation.

Hancock has declared he received £320,000 for his appearance on I’m a Celebrity – but only donated £10,000 to charity.

Asked if he would have gone on the programme for a “tenner”, Hancock replied: “Well, actually, I certainly would have considered it. The money wasn’t the primary consideration.

“Obviously you are paid a fee for these things and, as you know, if you’re an MP you declare that.”

Asked if he refused and the offer kept going up, he insisted: “That didn’t happen…”

Co-host Richard Madeley interrupted: “You mean they started with an offer of £330,000? I bet they didn’t. I know how television works.”

Hancock replied: “ITV asked me to come on, they offered a fee as part of that. But my primary motivation, actually, was to communicate with people about who I am as a person.”

Reid took a turn at applying the thumbscrews, telling him: “A third of a million pounds is an eye watering amount of money. It is more than Jill Scott who won I’m A Celebrity was paid to go into the jungle.

“Money must have been your primary motivation, because otherwise you wouldn’t have got that much money. Are you telling the truth when you say that it wasn’t your primary motivation?”

Hancock told her he was “absolutely” telling the truth before Reid pressed him again: “Did you negotiate over the fee?”

The former Cabinet minister replied: “Of course there was a discussion, a negotiation over the fee there always is on these things as you know.”

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