Lawyer apologises for furious rant after GB News reveals he was asked to represent Hancock: ‘I take that back’

Lawyer accuses GB News host of ‘very poor journalism’ - before backtracking minutes later

Katy Clifton
Monday 06 March 2023 06:39 GMT
GB news interview descends into chaos after lawyer forced to apologise over Hancock outburst

A lawyer has apologised for a furious rant on GB News after a presenter revealed he was asked to act for Matt Hancock over the leak of thousands of his WhatsApp messages during the pandemic.

Jonathan Coad appeared on GB News on Sunday night, when host Steve N Allen introduced the lawyer as having been asked to represent the former health secretary over the leak by journalist Isabel Oakeshott.

The lawyer quickly expressed anger at Mr Allen revealing he was asked to act for Mr Hancock, saying: “I made it absolutely clear to your programme, I asked them not to disclose that.

“That is very, very poor journalism.”

Mr Coad added: “When your own television station has engaged in correspondence with me where I explained that I’m in a position to be able to comment on this and mentioned I’d been approached by Matt Hancock - I asked you not to mention that and you mentioned it.

“If anybody is tempted to take you seriously or your programme seriously here is a good reason not to.”

Jonathan Coad accused Steve N Allen of “very poor journalism”
Jonathan Coad accused Steve N Allen of “very poor journalism” (GB News)

However, after a fiery five-minute exchange, Mr Allen retrieved the email sent by Mr Coad to a GB News producer ahead of the interview - which revealed the lawyer had missed out a vital word in his request.

The email said: "As a courtesy to the lady who approached me to act for [Matt Hancock] I would be grateful if it was mentioned that he asked me to act for him (via his assistant).”

With the studio audience laughing in the background, Mr Coad replied: “You’re absolutely right, it’s my mistake I missed out the ‘not’ - I take all of that back. You’re right and I’m wrong.

“Fair dos I’m absolutely wrong about that, my apologies.”

Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages during the pandemic have been leaked
Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages during the pandemic have been leaked (PA Media)

It comes after thousands of Mr Hancock’s WhatsApp messages were shared with the Telegraph by Ms Oakeshott, who co-authored the MP’s memoir the Pandemic Diaries, which covered his time as health secretary.

Mr Hancock has suggested Ms Oakeshott may have broken a confidentiality agreement and that he could take legal action.

She has defended the disclosure in recent days, insisting sharing the messages is in the public interest. But Mr Hancock has said all the materials used to write his book have been made available to the official Covid-19 inquiry.

Ms Oakeshott last week said she is not going to be “blown off course” by legal threats over the leak, after she claimed Mr Hancock had sent her a “menacing” message in the early hours of the morning.

She told Good Morning Britain: “I really think this whole menacing message thing has been a bit overinflated. I’m not frightened or intimidated. It simply said at 1.20 in the morning: ‘You have made a big mistake.’

“You can’t really interpret that as anything other than a threat.

“He has since followed through with more threats of legal action and so on, but I’m not worried about that. I’m not going to be intimidated or blown off course by that. This is much more important than those considerations.”

A spokesperson for Mr Hancock said: “As we’ve seen all week, these stories are wrong as they’re based on an entirely partial account.

“In the case of vaccines, Matt drove the goal of getting everyone vaccinated, often against resistance in the system. Ultimately he prevailed, thank goodness, and we got the first vaccine in the world, for everyone. Matt set all this out in his book.”

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