Health minister Matt Hancock loses temper during BBC radio interview

Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Ma

Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA. - Credit: PA

Health secretary Matt Hancock has blasted a radio presenter for interrupting him mid-speech.

Today show presenter Nick Robinson asked Hancock why the government was not putting more effort behind combatting the coronavirus as it did with Brexit following criticism from key scientific advisors.

Hancock snapped and said: 'The thing is this Nick, and this is a really, really important point.

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'How we communicate as a government, as ministers, has a direct impact on the amount of cases that we have and therefore the amount of people who die.

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'Because the clarity of messaging that people need to stay at home because that protects the NHS – because as you said in the intro we have this core goal to make sure the NHS isn't overwhelmed, which everybody a month ago was telling me it was impossible to achieve and that has been achieved thus far and that saves lives.

'That core messaging to stay home and saves lives has a direct impact on how many people follow the guidelines.'

When Robinson interjected, he was immediately shutdown by the minister who said: 'Let me please, let me finish... the answer.

'The scientists can say what they like. The commentators can say what they like. Frankly, the interviewers can say what they like but WE will do what is best by dealing with this virus.'

When it later turned out that the presenter interrupted to merely summarise Hancock's diatribe, the former digital, culture, media and sport secretary said: 'That is exactly the reasoning behind why we frustrate you and others who want to know exactly what the next stage will be. We talk about what is needed now and then when we need to change that, we will.'

BBC juggernaut Andrew Neil weighed into the argument, labelling Hancock as 'very feisty', adding 'let's see what happens with Piers Morgan on GMB.'

Former home secretary and Labour MP Diane Abbott tweeted: 'So Matt Hancock loses his temper on BBCr4today just now. Maybe he is upset that all his misrepresentations are catching up with him.' Meanwhile, Twitter has been quick to pull the secretary up on his government's handling of the crisis.

One listener tweeted: '@MattHancock, Westminster Govt is absolutely diabolical at communicating hence why you have worst rates of death in Europe. I'm glad you know why.'

Another commented: 'Contrast between German and UK #lockdown messaging is stark. Angela Merkel clearly explains impact on health system of even slight increases in #cornavirus infection rates. Matt Hancock gets hissy with Nick Robinson & suggests we Brits can't understand more than 'Stay at home'.'

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