1 C
London
Monday, March 8, 2021

Matt Hancock is ‘livid with Tony Blair for pinching his Covid ideas to pass off as his own’

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Matt Hancock has ‘stopped talking’ to Tony Blair amid accusations that the former Prime Minister pinched Government anti-Covid ideas to pass them off as his own, it was claimed last night.

The Health Secretary is said to be livid after two key proposals allegedly mentioned in private conversations – an initial priority one-jab vaccine policy and mass testing – later emerged as Mr Blair’s own suggestions.

A well-placed Government source told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Hancock had now broken off contact with the 67-year-old ex-premier – who yesterday posted a picture of himself receiving his Covid jab on Twitter – over the breaches.

The Health Secretary is said to be livid after two key proposals allegedly mentioned in private conversations later emerged as Mr Blair’s own suggestions. Pictured: Blair getting his vaccine

The Health Secretary is said to be livid after two key proposals allegedly mentioned in private conversations later emerged as Mr Blair’s own suggestions. Pictured: Blair getting his vaccine

Matt Hancock (pictured) has ‘stopped talking’ to Tony Blair amid accusations that the former Prime Minister pinched Government anti-Covid ideas

Matt Hancock (pictured) has ‘stopped talking’ to Tony Blair amid accusations that the former Prime Minister pinched Government anti-Covid ideas

The source said: ‘Matt was briefing Blair as a courtesy to a previous Prime Minister. But he cottoned on that Blair was milking these conversations.

‘And that’s when Hancock said, ‘I’m not going to talk to you any more.’ ‘

Tory MPs have also privately complained at the way ‘Tony Blair appears to be going round still pretending he is PM’.

The Health Secretary declined to comment last night. However, a source said: ‘Matt has spoken with all the living prime ministers in the course of the pandemic.’

However, Mr Blair’s office dismissed the accusations, insisting he had not taken the one-jab policy from Mr Hancock as he had never discussed it with him.

But the claims may tarnish Mr Blair’s burgeoning reputation for being way ahead of the game in the fight against Covid, with even Nigel Farage claiming ‘he seems to have a grip on this far more than the Cabinet’.

Mr Blair’s apparent far-sightedness includes being one of the first to call for the UK’s ground-breaking ‘first-jab priority’ vaccination in a newspaper last December – seven days before vaccine chiefs and the country’s four chief medical officers approved such a plan. 

Tory MPs have also privately complained at the way ‘Tony Blair appears to be going round still pretending he is PM’. Pictured: The former Labour leader

Tory MPs have also privately complained at the way ‘Tony Blair appears to be going round still pretending he is PM’. Pictured: The former Labour leader

Earlier last year, he appeared to anticipate the Government’s decision to introduce mass testing for the virus regardless of whether people had symptoms.

The Sunday Times reported last month how Mr Blair was offering ‘strategic advice’ to Mr Hancock while his think-tank, the Tony Blair Institute For Global Change, had been repurposed to address Covid-19 policy. One Blair ally even boasted last week: ‘Quite frequently, what Tony suggests today, the Government does tomorrow.’

But last night, the idea that the Cabinet followed Mr Blair was dismissed by one senior Government figure as ‘complete b******s’.

He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Blair influencing the Government? I tell you it’s the opposite.

‘It’s just stuff that he [Mr Blair] picked up on the phone when he was talking to Matt. Then he goes out and goes public with it.’

The source said that the Health Secretary was happy ‘in the beginning’ to have private conversations with the former Prime Minister.

But he said that came to a stop after Mr Blair appeared to claim credit ‘out of the blue’ for the one-jab dosing interval.

The Health Secretary declined to comment last night. However, a source said: ‘Matt has spoken with all the living prime ministers in the course of the pandemic.’

The Health Secretary declined to comment last night. However, a source said: ‘Matt has spoken with all the living prime ministers in the course of the pandemic.’

He said: ‘We were already looking at changing the dosing, talking to the manufacturers, before he even published his article on it or went on the Today programme. It was an informal chat. Matt was briefing him as a courtesy and the next thing, he’s freelancing, he’s the world expert himself on this.’

However, the ally of Mr Blair insisted he was probably ‘acting in concert with the Government’ by proposing pandemic policies which were then adopted by Ministers.

He said: ‘I think there is some degree of co-ordination. I don’t think it’s in any way illicit or bad.

‘Mr Blair is aware of what the Government is doing. And quite frequently what Tony suggests today the Government does tomorrow.’

Last night, a spokeswoman for Mr Blair insisted his call for a one-jab policy ‘arose out of discussions with experts and from the recognition that there would be a three-month gap between the first and second AstraZeneca jab’.

Mr Blair’s office insisted the mass testing idea was first aired by his institute as early as last March.

A source also played down reports of a rift with Mr Hancock, saying that he had spoken to him since December.

This post was first published on DailyMail.

- Advertisement -

Latest news

- Advertisement -

Related news

- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here