Editor's Opinion - Matt Hancock's actions were shamefully hypocritical

Matt Hancock on a recent visit to Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Matt Hancock on a recent visit to Hinchingbrooke Hospital. - Credit: ARCHANT

Last week, we published an online story about Health Secretary Matt Hancock being captured on CCTV footage kissing a colleague in what was a clear breach of social distancing guidelines. 

There has been some criticism on our social media feed about our decision to publish, and while I don't intend to address every single post, I just want to make a few things clear.

We don't support The Sun newspaper or its style of reporting, but The Sun broke the story and we had to attribute the reporting of it to them.

Some people have also pointed out that it is hardly local news, I agree, and you won't see any mention of the story in next week's Hunts Post, other than on the letters page. But we felt strongly that this was a huge talking point and the online story was intended to canvass views and encourage debate.

We have also been accused of political bias. Actually, Matt Hancock's political persuasions are irrelevant in this instance. But what is relevant is, he represented the Government of the day in a senior position and is accountable for his actions.

Whether he represented the Conservatives, Labour or the Monster Raving Loony party, he was the current health secretary and he breached the very guidelines he helped to put in place.

His actions were selfish and shamefully hypocritical and personally, I  am glad he did the right thing and resigned.  

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I am glad for the all the nurses, doctors and healthcare staff who have stood on the frontline during this pandemic and everyone else who has made sacrifices in order to protect themselves and the wider community.

I am glad for all the families who have suffered the heartbreak of not being able to visit loved ones in care homes or in hospitals. For all the grandparents who have missed out on hugging their grandchildren and the milestone moments they have missed, which they can never get back.

I am glad for all the people denied a comforting hug at a funeral or wedding and for those who live alone or have suffered with their mental health during this pandemic.

For all those who say this is personal and it doesn't matter to the rest of us, I disagree. His alleged affair is a matter for him and his wife and children, but his actions in public office are, and should be, of concern to all of us.

Just imagine how you would feel if your neighbour or a colleague at work was flouting the guidance, possibly putting you and your family at risk?

Would you brush it off? Would you ignore it, would you think it didn't matter? 

Even in his resignation speech, he said "those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them," honestly, why even say that now? He broke the rules to satisfy his own selfish urges while the rest of us obeyed those rules and made huge sacrifices.

His actions damage his colleagues and public confidence in Government. Of course it matters. It matters a lot.