UK Covid live news: Matt Hancock denies lying to PM as he faces questions on handling of pandemic | Politics

Good morning. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, will be questioned by MPs from the Commons health and science committees this morning about the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic. He is expected to take questions for up to four hours, and it should be the most in-depth interrogation of a cabinet minister on this topic we have had so far.

Hancock will be asked to respond to the multiple allegations against him last week. But he also faces fresh questions about what was done to protect care homes. As my colleague Robert Booth reports, some of the UK’s biggest care home operators have told the Guardian they repeatedly warned Hancock’s department about the risk of not testing people discharged from hospitals into care homes in March 2020.

And this morning Rachel Clarke, the prominent palliative care doctor and author, has posted a Twitter thread claiming that when Hancock said he was protecting care homes, he was lying. It starts here.

Rachel Clarke

Today @matthancock will attempt to persuade the Commons that he’s behaved impeccably throughout this pandemic – and that Cummings’ accusations of serial lying are, themselves, a lie.

But the fact is, @matthancock *has* lied during the pandemic – and I can prove it. (1/16)

June 10, 2021

Clarke says she was working in a hospice when the pandemic started, and that they were given the same PPE as care homes.

Rachel Clarke

During the first wave, my hospice was supplied with the same official PPE as care homes. Namely, a single box containing one roll of plastic aprons, one box of gloves and one box of paper masks. We had 300 masks in total – enough to last 2 or 3 days at most. (4/16)

June 10, 2021

She says Hancock said he was setting up an NHS PPE hotline for people who needed PPE. But it took a long time to get through, and the hospice was then told it did not qualify for help. The hospice feared it might have to close, and only stayed open because a charity provided PPE. Clarke says this was the worst dereliction of duty she has encountered in 12 years as a doctor.

Rachel Clarke

But this was no thanks whatsoever to @matthancock or @DHSCgovuk. The fact is, no-one in government gave one single damn about my terminally ill hospice inpatients who faced eviction – in the last days of their life – because of government PPE failings. (12/16)

June 10, 2021

Rachel Clarke

It is the single most disgusting example of dereliction of duty I have ever encountered in my 12 years as a doctor. A truly hideous gulf between political rhetoric (“we’ll protect you!”) and actual reality (we’ll throw you to the wolves). (13/16)

June 10, 2021

Rachel Clarke

So when, today, @matthancock tells you that he’s never lied, that care homes were always protected, and that he threw a protective ring round them, please remember my hospice. Exactly like the country’s care homes, we were an afterthought, an irrelevance, hung out to dry. (14/16)

June 10, 2021

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, gives evidence to the Covid inquiry being jointly held by the Commons health and science committees.

9.30am: NHS England publishes its monthly waiting time figures.

10am: Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, Sir Chris Wormald, permanent secretary at the Department for Health, and Sir Tom Scholar, permanent secretary at the Treasury, give evidence to the Commons public accounts committee on lessons learned during the pandemic.

2pm: Public Health England publishes its weekly Covid surveillance report.

Afternoon: Boris Johnson meets Joe Biden, the US president, in Cornwall. They will sign a new “Atlantic charter”.

Politics Live has been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news recently, and that is likely to be the case today. This morning I will be mostly focusing on the Hancock committee hearing, and this afternoon I will be mostly focusing on the Johnson/Biden meeting.

For more Covid coverage, do read our global live blog.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at [email protected]

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