Isabel Oakeshott was sent ‘menacing message’ from Matt Hancock after leak
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Matt Hancock joked about a Bill Gates Covid conspiracy during lockdown, leaked WhatsApp messages show. The then-health secretary quipped that Mr Gates “owes me one” considering “how many people I’m getting his chips injected into”. Mr Hancock was trying to get the billionaire to help to promote an offer of UK expertise in identifying coronavirus variants.
At the time, there were a number of conspiracy theories circulating, claiming that the vaccination programme was being used as a means of controlling the world’s population by implanting microchips into people’s arms.
Some of them suggested that Mr Gates was behind the plot.
Leaked WhatsApps showed Damon Poole, the Health Secretary’s media adviser asking Mr Hancock whether he had spoken to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organisation, about the New Variant Assessment Platform (NVAP) – a service offering other countries UK expertise to detect and assess new variants around the world.
When Mr Hancock confirmed that he had spoken to him, Mr Poole said: “No promises but I’m trying to land a Bill Gates endorsement of the platform”.
In response, the Health Secretary joked: “Tell him that considering how many people I’m getting his chips injected into, he owes me one!”
Around 100,000 WhatsApp messages were published as part of an investigation by the Telegraph.
The tranche of messages revealed that Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty told the then health secretary in April 2020 there should be testing for “all going into care homes”.
But the messages suggest Mr Hancock did not follow the guidance, telling an aide the move “muddies the waters”.
He introduced mandatory testing for those entering care homes from hospitals, but not from the community until later.
Mr Hancock expressed concerns that expanding care home testing could “get in the way” of the target of 100,000 daily coronavirus tests he was desperate to hit, according to the messages.
In one message, Mr Hancock said Sir Chris had finished a review and recommended “testing of all going into care homes, and segregation whilst awaiting result”.
The then-health secretary described it as “obviously a good positive step”.
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However, the investigation said he later responded to an aide: “Tell me if I’m wrong but I would rather leave it out and just commit to test & isolate ALL going into care from hospital. I do not think the community commitment adds anything and it muddies the waters.”
Mr Hancock is “considering all options” over the leaked messages, hitting back at what he branded a “distorted account” on his handling of care home testing in the pandemic.
A spokesman for the West Suffolk MP said: “It is outrageous that this distorted account of the pandemic is being pushed with partial leaks, spun to fit an anti-lockdown agenda, which would have cost hundreds of thousands of lives if followed.”
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