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Answers demanded over Rees-Mogg Covid testing claims

01 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Jacob Rees Mogg speaking in the Chamber

Claims that Jacob Rees-Mogg had a Covid-19 test couriered to his house for one of his children during the pandemic should be looked into now by the Government, not left for the inquiry, Labour has said.

As part of the leak of Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages to the Daily Telegraph, the paper reported that in September 2020 an adviser to the then health secretary helped get a test sent to Mr Rees-Mogg’s home.

The aide messaged Mr Hancock to say the lab had “lost” the original test for one of the senior Conservative’s children, “so we’ve got a courier going to their family home tonight”.

He added: “Jacob’s spad (special adviser) is aware and has helped line it all up, but you might want to text Jacob.”

The claim that a test couriered to the then Commons leader’s home, and which came during a backlog in testing, has prompted calls for the Government to look into the matter.

A spokesperson for Sir Keir Starmer urged the Government not to “hide” behind the Covid inquiry and look into the matter immediately.

Public interest

Downing Street admitted there is “significant public interest” in the story.

“That’s why we have established an independent public inquiry that will look to establish the facts,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“It’s not for me to look at individual claims put out.

“Claims related to how the Government acted, related to testing and who did or did not receive tests at different points during the pandemic I’m sure will form part of the independent inquiry.”

But Sir Keir’s spokesman said the Government is “more than capable” of answering questions now to ensure “clarity and transparency”.

“There is absolutely no reason for that to need to be within the remit of the inquiry,” he told reporters, adding that the independent inquiry should also be free to look at it if it so chooses.

“To hide behind the inquiry at this stage seems bizarre from the Government when it would be very easy for that information and those questions to be answered now.”

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Prime Minister to ask him what he knew and when regarding claims that ministers had access to “priority testing”.

Evidence

Deputy Lib Dem leader Daisy Cooper said: “These reports are just more evidence that it’s one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

“The Government must urgently publish exactly how many Conservative ministers, MPs and their families had access to priority testing when the public faced a national test shortage. The public deserves to know the truth.”

Communications with other top Conservatives and politicians have also been placed in the spotlight by the leak.

Former chancellor George Osborne, at the time editor of the London Evening Standard, was quizzed by Mr Hancock about comments he had made during a radio interview about testing and the role of No 10.

Mr Osborne told the health secretary at the time: “Trying to spread the responsibility from you to Number 10 – I’ve said it before.”

Mr Hancock replied: “Ok but mass testing is going v well – I fear this looks like you asked for me to be overruled…”

The ex-chancellor replied: “No-one thinks testing is going well, Matt.”


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
11 months ago

Calm down everyone and look after your blood pressure. We’ve been told so many times and seen it demonstrated ad nauseum that the rules are for US not THEM. They just do what they want. Uberclass exemption, plumgob immunity, hierarchy hypocrisy and pseudo superiority all here to stay unless we give it the heave-ho at the ballot box.

Brechdan Wncomunco
11 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

And your point is?

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