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July 28, 2023updated 15 Sep 2023 9:40am

‘Failed health secretary and cheating husband’ Matt Hancock loses IPSO complaints against Mirror

Daily Mirror articles about Matt Hancock not inaccurate, rules IPSO.

By Dominic Ponsford

UPDATE: Less than two months on, Matt Hancock has won a separate complaint against the Mirror.

Former health secretary Matt Hancock has had his complaints over a series of Daily Mirror articles rejected by press regulator IPSO.

Hancock complained over the following pieces:

  • “No stranger to ridicule or reinvention” (2 November 2022)
  • “Shameful record of blunders” (2 November 2022)
  • “He’s no jungle hero… lying Hancock threw us all to the wolves” (11 November 2022)
  • “SOLIDARITY IS EMOTIONAL” (3 December 2022)

The articles included allegations that Hancock:

  • “presided over PPE contracts being handed out to acquaintances of ministers and officials, including his ex-pub landlord” during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • “broke ministerial code by failing to declare he held shares in a family firm that won an NHS contract”
  • was “a failed health secretary and cheating husband who broke the lockdown rules he wrote, doubled down on the lies he told, helped enrich his mates via the infamous VIP PPE lane, and couldn’t resist monetising the infamy he acquired as a result of his ineptitude at managing the pandemic”.

The complaints under Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code (accuracy) were all rejected.

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The IPSO complaints committee said: “The complainant disputed that he had played a direct role in allocating contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it was not in dispute that, as the then-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, he held overall responsibility for healthcare delivery and performance in the UK. It was also not in dispute, that, during the complainant’s tenure as Secretary of State, a contract – explicitly naming the company of his acquaintance, who had been a pub-landlord in his local area – had been signed in his name. This supported the position that the complainant held ultimate responsibility for the allocation of such contracts.”

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Read the Matt Hancock versus Daily Mirror IPSO ruling in full.

Matt Hancock and the UK press

Hancock has had a bumpy relationship with the press. In 2021 he was forced to resign his role as health secretary after the Sun published pictures and video of him in an extra-marital embrace with a junior member of staff in breach of coronavirus social distancing rules.

Last year the Telegraph published a series of revelations based on Hancock’s Whatsapp exchanges with government colleagues after he shared them with ghostwriter Isabel Oakeshott.

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