Hancock discusses funding blocked to withdraw MPs’ Covid plan, leak shows Matt Hancock

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Matt Hancock and a senior aide discussed ways to block funding for MPs’ local projects to persuade them to vote for Covid regulations including a new center for disabled children, leaked messages reveal .

Messages between Hancock and adviser Alan Nixon show the former health secretary agreed “100%” with the suggestion that projects in constituencies be used as a way to persuade MPs to vote for the tiered system in December 2020 should go.

The leaks were unveiled in the Daily Telegraph’s investigation into Matt Hancock’s leaked WhatsApp messages, which have been named the Lockdown Files.

Former Conservative Party chairman Jake Berry tweeted that Hancock “should be dragged to the bar of the House of Commons first thing tomorrow morning to be questioned over this”.

The row preceded a separate issue the following year where an MP complained to the police about alleged tactics used by the whip to bolster support for Boris Johnson – including similar threats to constituency funds. Are.

The leaked WhatsApp came ahead of a rebellion by more than 50 MPs against the regional tiered system for the lockdown, with dozens of MPs expressing anger over the classification of their local areas and support for business.

Hancock’s messages – which he has said were taken out of context and never acted upon – show that he was keen to persuade MPs in 2019 not to rebel, and the whip has given MPs shared a spreadsheet of the significant number who were unhappy.

James Daly, MP for Bury North, was campaigning for a public health center in his constituency to benefit vulnerable people in the community.

On November 22, 10 days before the vote, Nixon wrote to Hancock: “I think we need to ask our heads on some of these intake MPs of 2019, which are about to boil over this coming week.

“The views on me are suggesting to the Spades of the Chiefs that they are looking to rebroadcast us on the 2019 list. For example James wants his own Learning Disabilities Hub in Bury – the Whip calls him and says the health team want to work with him to deliver it but if he rebels he will be off the table.

Hancock responded “yes 100%” to the suggestion.

A spokesman for the former health secretary said: “The missing context here is vitally important as this vote was crucial to saving lives.

“What is being alleged here never happened, demonstrating the story is wrong, and showing that such a biased, partial approach to the evidence is a bad mistake, driven by vested interests and an ax to grind.” .

“The public inquiry is the right place to consider everything about the pandemic.”

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Daly told the Telegraph that the hub had still not been given the green light, but said he had not been contacted by the whip to make such a threat.

He said: “They were never going to offer to give it to me. I still haven’t. Hancock never showed the slightest interest in supporting it, even though I campaigned for it repeatedly.

“I think it is appalling. The fact that if I vote for this they will only give much needed support to disabled people, it was absolutely disgusting.

On polling day, 2 December, Hancock sent a message to say: “James Daly is with us.”

Daly voted against the government. In all, 55 Conservative MPs opposed the arrangement, which passed as Labor abstained.

The Conservative whip was accused of using similar tactics during the Boris Johnson era. Former Conservative MP Christian Wakeford, who switched to the Labor Party, was reportedly told by the party whip that he would lose funding for a new high school in his constituency if he did not vote with the government.

MP William Wragg urged MPs to report government ministers, whips and advisers to the speaker – and even to the police – after he claimed some colleagues who possibly opposed Johnson during the Partygate scandal There was an attempt to blackmail. The police took no further action.

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