Voice of Covid families must be heard after Matt Hancock’s evidence – The Yorkshire Post says

IT was inevitable that Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s evidence to the Parliamentary committees investigating the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic would be seen in the context of the explosive claims made by Boris Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings that he was a liar.

Screen grab of Health Secretary Matt Hancock giving evidence to the Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee where he answered questions over allegations Dominic Cummings previously made before the Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

Yet, as the self-evident mutual loathing between these two key figures is dissected, this shared contempt, it should be remembered, is secondary to the pandemic’s impact on nearly 130,000 families mourning loved ones taken before their time by Covid.

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And their suffering is made even more painful by the extent to which the joint inquiry by the Health and Science Committee, and subsequent coverage, has had to place undue focus on the personalities at the heart of this power struggle.

Screen grab of Health Secretary Matt Hancock giving evidence to the Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee where he answered questions over allegations Dominic Cummings previously made before the Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

As the Government is intent on delaying the start of the public inquiry until next year, it is essential to find a way to enable families to table questions, and even record oral testimony, now while their experiences remain so vivid – that would offer them some reassurance that they will be taken seriously.

This exercise is made even more necessary by Mr Hancock, who is still to visit the the Covid memorial opposite Parliament, and his contradictory evidence about the use of science – and later how he, as a trained economist, chose to overlook critical World Health Organisation guidance on the risks to health from asymptomatic transmission.

Coupled with his brusqueness when pressed for specific answers on PPE equipment, there are many lessons – some more urgent than others – to implement as Britain learns to live and work with Covid. But the greatest is ensuring that the families of victims receive the answers they want. So far, and despite the best efforts of former Cabinet Ministers Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt who are chairing this inquiry, this is still to happen satisfactorily.

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Matt Hancock has disputed the claims made to Parliament last month by Boris Johnson's former aide Dominic Cummings.