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Matt Hancock is trying to make a comeback – who is he kidding?

To get back into government the former health secretary has to shake off allegations about his conduct. His prospects don’t look good, says John Rentoul

Thursday 02 December 2021 20:32 GMT
Matt Hancock, trying to be constructive
Matt Hancock, trying to be constructive (REUTERS)

Matt Hancock’s tenacity cannot be denied. Within weeks of his resignation as health secretary in June, his “friends” let it be known that he was hoping to return to government in due course. He was briefly appointed to a United Nations role before being disappointed – the meaning “failure to fulfil hopes” originally came from the word’s sense of being deprived of a job. Last night, he gave his first interview since his departure.

He said the government had got the balance right in its response to the omicron variant, “putting the effort into vaccination”, but he also said we should “test the hell out of ourselves”.

Inevitably, though, Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, asked him about his resignation, and why he hadn’t resigned immediately when the video evidence that he had broken lockdown rules was published. “As you can imagine the first thing that I had to do, that I focused on, was my personal life,” said Hancock, “and when I focused on my professional responsibilities, I decided that I had to resign and that’s what I did.”

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