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Matt Hancock has justified his choice to utilize a Jaguar driven by a chauffeur, paid for by taxpayers, to attend the Covid inquiry, despite no longer holding a government position for over two years.
A representative for Mr. Hancock, the independent Member of Parliament for West Suffolk, stated that it was completely justifiable for the government to coordinate his transportation to the investigation since he was attending as the former Secretary of Health.
According to the Daily Mirror, Mr. Hancock utilized a government vehicle three times in June, November, and December of last year for his inquiry travels. However, the Department of Health and Social Care did not disclose the expenses for these trips.
The department stated that it was responsible for ensuring sufficient security for the former health secretary, who has received significant backlash for his management of the pandemic.
Photographs from the investigation displayed Mr. Hancock exiting a Jaguar at least once.
According to a representative for Mr Hancock, he participated in the Covid inquiry solely in his role as former secretary of state during the pandemic. It is justifiable for the government to handle his transportation and security arrangements for this event.
While in government, secretaries of state are given access to chauffeur-driven vehicles, but this privilege is revoked upon their departure.
In June 2021, Mr. Hancock was forced to step down from his role as health secretary due to a scandal involving him breaking the very Covid regulations he had a hand in creating. He was found to have kissed his coworker, Gina Coladangelo, within his office.
The MP is among a number of other current and former government ministers to have attended the inquiry, chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett.
Boris Johnson, the previous prime minister, Rishi Sunak, the present prime minister, and Sajid Javid, who took over as health secretary after Mr Hancock, have all provided testimony.
After departing from his government position, Mr. Hancock has made appearances on reality TV programs such as I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, earning an estimated £445,000.
In December, while testifying in the inquiry, Mr. Hancock acknowledged that his relationship with Ms. Coladangelo violated lockdown regulations.
He stated during the investigation that “the message for the future is quite evident” in that “it is crucial for those who create the regulations to follow them,” and further expressed, “I stepped down to take responsibility for my failure to do so.”
Hancock justified his choice to release hospital patients to nursing homes without Covid testing as a logical and sensible decision. He stated that no one has presented a solution to this issue that, even in retrospect, would have led to more lives being saved.
Other officials who have testified in the inquiry have heavily criticized him as well, including Helen MacNamara, the former deputy cabinet secretary. She stated that Mr. Hancock showed extreme levels of confidence at the beginning of the pandemic.
She stated that Mr Hancock frequently informed coworkers at Downing Street of information that was later found to be false.
In December 2022, Mr Hancock, who was expelled from the Conservative Party for taking a trip to the jungle while parliament was in session, declared his intention to run as an MP in the upcoming election.