No 10 rebuke in Hancock ‘threat’ row
DOWNING Street slapped down Matt Hancock last night after he discussed withholding funding for a learning disability centre if the local MP refused to back his Covid restrictions.
WhatsApp messages between the then health secretary and his political aide in 2020 showed them planning to put pressure on James Daly, Tory MP for Bury North. In messages leaked to The Daily Telegraph, the aide suggested telling Mr Daly the hub in Bury which he wanted would be ‘off the table if he rebels’. The aide added of potential rebels ‘We know what they want’. Mr Hancock responded: ‘Yes, 100 per cent.’
Mr Daly yesterday said he was ‘disgusted’ the hub was seen as a bargaining chip, but stressed the threat was not carried out.
A No 10 spokesman said the way Mr Hancock acted was not how Rishi Sunak would want his ministers operating. A spokesman for Mr Hancock said: ‘This vote was critical for saving lives. What’s being accused here never happened.’