Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips today told a Cabinet minister defending Matt Hancock ‘where to get off’ after describing how hundreds of loved ones were prevented from attending his daughter’s funeral while the Health Secretary broke lockdown with his mistress.
The anti-racism campaigner told Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis how he buried freelance journalist Sushila Phillips, 36, on May 11 – just five days after cheating Mr Hancock kissed aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office, in images obtained by the Sun newspaper.
Mr Phillips, who chaired the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said 300 friends and family were forced to watch the funeral online because they were banned from the graveside ‘even though it was in the open air, because of the rule of 30, because of the instruction by Mr Hancock’.
A visibly uncomfortable Mr Lewis listened as the Sky News broadcaster then asked: ‘Now the next time one of you tells me what to do in my private life, explain to me why I shouldn’t just tell you where to get off?’
Sushila died ‘peacefully in her own bed’ after a 22-year battle with anorexia, her family announced on Facebook in April. They called her ‘one of the wisest, kindest, strongest and funniest people’ and ‘a force and the most beautiful soul’.
Pointing out the Government’s double standard, Mr Phillips said: ‘I want to put a private – personal question I guess, in a way – to you. Over the past two days every Cabinet minster including you has come out to essentially defend the Prime Minister and Matt Hancock.
‘The pictures that we saw were of an encounter on May the 6th. On May the 11th my family buried my daughter who had died not of Covid but during the lockdown. Three hundred of our family and friends turned up online but most of them were not allowed to be at the graveside even though it was in the open air because of the rule of 30, because of the instruction by Mr Hancock.
‘Now the next time one of you tells me what to do in my private life, explain to me why I shouldn’t just tell you where to get off?’
Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips today told a Cabinet minister defending Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson ‘where to get off’ after describing how hundreds of loved ones were prevented from attending his daughter’s funeral while the Health Secretary broke rules with his mistress
Sushila died ‘peacefully in her own bed’ after a 22-year battle with anorexia, her family announced on Facebook in April. They called her ‘one of the wisest, kindest, strongest and funniest people’ and ‘a force and the most beautiful soul’
The news came less than two hours after Matt Hancock announced his resignation from the position following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions
Mr Phillips wrote about his daughter’s battle with anorexia in March in an article for The Times in the wake of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey
Mr Lewis then blurted out: ‘Look I absolutely accept and understand the frustration, even the anger, people have, having been rough the situations they’ve been through.
‘People across the country, I’ve lost friends whose funerals I’ve not been able to go to over the last period – that is such a tragic situation for any of us to be in, and that’s – I have to say – why its so important all of us do what we can to keep ourselves, our families, our friends, our wider community safe.
‘It’s also why what Matt did was wrong. He acknowledged that, why he apologised immediately for his behaviour and acknowledged what he did was wrong, and it’s also why he’s taken the decision that his position was untenable and distracted from the wider work that we’ve all got to do to move forward in the pandemic and out of the pandemic.’
The anti-racism campaigner is the latest public figure to criticise Mr Hancock’s double standards after DailyMail.com’s editor-at-large Piers Morgan attacked the former Health Secretary on Twitter before his resignation.
Mr Morgan shared a picture of the Health Secretary embracing Miss Coladangelo next to one of the Queen sitting alone at Prince Philip’s funeral a month earlier.
‘I thought you said the rules were for everyone’, reads a heartbreaking speech bubble from the masked Queen, who was forced to sit through her husband’s funeral alone in line with social distancing guidelines.
Posting the meme on Twitter, Mr Morgan wrote: ‘This perfectly sums up why Hancock is toast.’
Gina Coladangelo (pictured with the Health Secretary in September 2019), initially taken on by Mr Hancock as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract in early 2020, is also leaving her position on the board of the Department of Health
Matt Hancock wrote a letter of resignation (pictured above) to Boris Johnson where he said the Government ‘owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down
After allowing a month to elapse, the whistleblower approached lockdown sceptics and asked them to help sell the incendiary footage to the media
Mr Phillips wrote about his daughter’s battle with anorexia in March in an article for The Times in the wake of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
He revealed that Sushila – who graduated with a first class honours degree in English literature from York University in 2008, and also had a diploma in law and masters degree in English literature – had been having regular treatment at a specialist medical unit.
In his article, Mr Phillips compared his daughter’s struggles with anorexia to those described by Meghan. He wrote: ‘Though I have thankfully never sunk to the despair described by the duchess, our family has spent more than two decades watching helplessly as my older daughter battled a severe eating disorder.
‘Hours before writing these words she and I bade farewell on a familiar threshold: the specialist unit to which she admits herself periodically when the daily struggle against her demons proves just too exhausting.’
Mr Phillips recounted in painful detail his struggle to help his daughter through her ordeal – which extended to physically intervening to prevent her throwing herself out of a moving car.
He said: ‘I do know what it feels like to have to pin your teenage child to the floor of a speeding car to prevent her throwing herself out of the door. I understand what it is to hear that she may not live long enough to go to university.
‘I have met the girls with whom she shared the hellish wards reserved for the most distressed, and learnt not to look away when she tells me that I’ll never see one of them again because she has taken her own life.’
Mr Phillips said his experience meant he did not ‘take the duchess’s words lightly’ about her mental health, although he said it was ‘hard to imagine any family would knowingly ignore such distress’.