Boris Johnson slammed for dismissing Matt Hancock affair as ‘Westminster bubble’

Boris Johnson has tried to claim credit for Matt Hancock’s departure

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Boris Johnson was been branded a "disgrace" for trying to write-off former Health Secretary's Matt Hancock kiss with his aide as a "Westminster bubble" issue.

Labour leader Keir Starmer challenged the PM on why he failed to sack Mr Hancock on Friday when pictures of emerged of him in a clinch with Gina Coladangelo in his Whitehall office.

Mr Hancock quit on Saturday over the pictures, supposedly taken on May 6, which he admitted breached social distancing rules.

The PM repeatedly tried to take credit for Mr Hancock's departure – despite No10 insisting on Friday that he considered the matter closed.

Mr Starmer raised the case of Ollie Bibby, 27, from Essex, who died of leukaemia in hospital on May 5.

Labour leader Keir Starmer challenged the PM over Matt Hancock's departure

He said Ollie's mother was "livid" to discover that the ex-Health Secretary had flouted the rules while her son was only allowed to have one family member with him while he died.

Mr Starmer added: "I know the Prime Minister is keen to sweep this under the carpet, but let me tell the Prime Minister why this matters, millions of people made huge and very difficult sacrifices to follow the rules that his health secretary had introduced."

But the PM replied: "We all share the grief and the pain…(of) millions of people up and down the country who have endured the privations that this country has been through in order to get the coronavirus pandemic under control and that is why we had a change of health secretary the day after the story appeared."

He added: "Instead of focusing on stuff going on within the Westminster bubble we are focusing on rolling out that vaccine."

Mr Starmer said it was not an "appropriate" response, adding: "Before Prime Minister's Questions this morning I spoke to Ollie's mum about the awful circumstances she and her family have been through.

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"She told me Prime Minister that every day she watched the press conferences and she hung onto every word that Government ministers said so she would know what her family could and couldn't do, and then they followed the rules. This is not the Westminster bubble.

"She told me that for her and her family this case isn't closed and she speaks for millions of people. I ask the Prime Minister to withdraw that when he gets up, it's the wrong response to Ollie's case.

"I can't help concluding that the Prime Minister didn't ask relevant questions on Friday morning either because he didn't want to know the answers or he knows full well there's more to come out."

Mr Starmer said Mr Johnson "muttered nonsense" to this suggestion, with the Prime Minister adding: "We have a new Health Secretary in place and have had one since the day after the stories appeared and that was entirely right and the right response to the situation."

Hancock resigned after the embarrassing incident
(Image: Getty Images)

Mr Johnson said the Government is aiming to "get on" with the rollout of the vaccines, adding: "To allow the people of this country to work forwards towards freedom day, which I devoutly hope will come on July 19."

Labour MP Mary Foy said: " Boris Johnson continues to rewrite history.

"What a disgrace to dismiss the very real concerns of grieving families up and down the country. It is all a game to him."

SNP MP John Nicholson tweeted: "Boris Johnson completely wrong footed on #Hancock

"His bluster and insincerity don’t work when confronted with a real life case – Olly who died of leukaemia and alone because his family followed the rules.

“Westminster bubble” Johnson responds. Ghastly."

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