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Matt Hancock has been giving a marathon evidence session to MPs on his response to the Covid crisis.

The Health Secretary had faced claims he was a liar in a bombshell performance from Dominic Cummings.

Today he went to the same joint health and science committee to respond – and denied he ever lied to Boris Johnson.

He said it was "telling" that Mr Cummings had provided “no evidence” to back up his claims, despite telling the MPs he would.

“Despite my deep regret about the deaths that have occurred, I know that I, I did that with the right motive, straight with people throughout,” he said.

Matt Hancock at today's committee session

Mr Hancock added in a carefully-worded statement: "I take and took and have taken throughout full responsibility for all the areas I am responsible for."

After Cummings’ claims, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Very serious allegations were made in relation to the Health Secretary by Dominic Cummings just a few weeks ago.

"What I want to see today is Matt Hancock answer those allegations.”

Mr Hancock did answer many of the claims, but not perhaps in the way people were asking.

He denied some, confirmed others were true – and said he had no “recollection” of several more.

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Mr Hancock repeated his existence that “at a national level there was never a point at which we ran out” of PPE.

He denied the problems in PPE cost lives, saying "of course the PPE was important" but "no PPE is perfect" and staff "put themselves in danger" to deal with patients regardless.

He also revealed: “Sadly I expect us to have a pathogen similar to this to deal with in less than 100 years, and we need to be better prepared.”

So what were the key things Matt Hancock said today? Here’s a run-down…

The revelations He still hasn’t visited the Covid memorial wall

Some 150,000 hearts are painted on the wall outside St Thomas’ Hospital, across the River Thames from Parliament.

They represent the victims of the pandemic. The scene is heartbreaking, with relatives having visited the capital to write in their loved ones’ details on the hearts with marker pens.

But surprisingly Mr Hancock revealed he hasn’t been.

“Not yet, but I very much hope to,” he told committee member Dawn Butler.

People at the Covid-19 memorial wall in London – which Matt Hancock hasn't yet visited
(Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

91% of new cases are now the Indian variant

Mr Hancock revealed that 91% of new cases in the UK are now the Delta variant – first seen in India.

He was warned on January 31 of '820,000 deaths'

Matt Hancock today admitted he was warned about a "worst-case scenario" of 820,000 deaths – 51 days before the Covid lockdown.

The Health Secretary told MPs doomsday plans based on Spanish Flu were signed off by COBRA on January 31, 2020.

In mid-February 2020, scientists "confirmed" that it should he "taken as read" that Covid could be comparable to the scenario.

Then in the week of March 9, "the data started to follow" roughly the path of that worst-case scenario, Mr Hancock said.

Yet extraordinarily, it took until March 23 for Boris Johnson to announce a full lockdown – and the Cheltenham Festival was allowed to go ahead on March 10-13.

Mr Hancock today tried to explain the delay by saying evidence was still "highly, highly sketchy". He said the challenge was making “the most significant judgement any Prime Minister has made in peacetime based on incomplete information and at great pace”.

Mr Hancock today tried to explain the delay by saying evidence was still "highly, highly sketchy"
(Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

He claimed he warned about asymptomatic Covid in January – but was shot down by the WHO

Boris Johnson has defended the lack of tests in care homes last March by saying the scale of "asymptomatic" Covid transmission was not known.

Yet giving evidence today, Mr Hancock claimed he raised the issue way back on January 27 – but was shot down by the World Health Organisation two days later.

"I heard evidence from China that there was asymptomatic transmission in January," he said. “I was so worried about it I arranged a call with the WHO and I was told… this was likely a mistranslation.”

He added: “I bitterly regret that I didn’t overrule that scientific advice at the start, and say ‘we should proceed on the basis that there is asymptomatic transmission until we know there isn’t’.

“But when you’re faced with a global consensus and you don’t have the evidence that you’re right and the scientific consensus is wrong, it’s hard to do that.”

Mr Hancock did not mention this, but way back on February 4, SAGE agreed: "Asymptomatic transmission cannot be ruled out and transmission from mildly symptomatic individuals is likely."

He didn't even have a list of care homes

Mr Hancock said that at the beginning of the pandemic, his powers over social care were "extremely limited" and his department did not even have a list of care homes in England.

He said: “We didn’t have the data. When I first asked for a list of all of the elderly care homes, we didn’t have one. Which I find totally extraordinary saying – but it’s true.”

After Cummings branded his claim to have thrown a “ring” around care homes “nonsense”, Mr Hancock said: “I think the most important words in the sentence are 'we tried to'. It was very hard.

"Each and every death in a care home weighs heavily and always will. We knew from the start from very early in January that the impact of this disease was most significant on the oldest and therefore care homes were going to be a particular risk.

"We put in funding. We made sure PPE was as available as possible. We set guidance for care homes. Then later when we had the testing capacity – in July – we brought in weekly testing for staff."

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He insisted he didn't lie to the Prime Minister over care home tests

Mr Hancock said he and Boris Johnson both agreed to a policy to discharge thousands of hospital patients into care homes last March.

Thousands of them weren’t tested for Covid – and that has been blamed for seeding the disease and leading to deaths.

But there’s been a row over what he said about testing at the time.

Dominic Cummings claimed the Health Secretary promised people would be tested, only for the PM to discover they weren’t.

“We set out a policy that people would be tested – when tests were available,” he said. “And then I set about building the testing capacity to be able to deliver on that.”

He insisted criticism of the lack of tests was "predicated on the idea we could simply have more tests – we couldn’t."

He added “the clear clinical advice” was that some positive cases would be missed by tests anyway, leading to false reassurance.

Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson in the Commons chamber
(Image: PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

He 'just doesn't know' if the Wuhan lab escape theory is true

Matt Hancock said he "just doesn't know" whether the theory that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab is true.

"It's vital that we have a fully independent investigation in China finding out all we can about this and that is allowed to happen unencumbered," he said.

He claimed he was never told people didn’t get treatment

Mr Cummings said: “In the summer he said everyone who needed treatment got the treatment they required. He knew that was a lie because he’d been briefed by the Chief Scientific Advisor.”

Today, Mr Hancock insisted: “There was no point at which I was advised that people were not getting the treatment they needed.”

He had 'no idea' why Dominic Cummings wanted him sacked

The Health Secretary said he had "no idea" why Dominic Cummings wanted him sacked.

Mr Cummings had claimed Mr Hancock should have been fired 15 to 20 times, and the Cabinet Secretary wanted him gone too.

Mr Hancock shot back: "It is telling that no evidence has been provided yet [by Dominic Cummings, to back up his claims".

Since Mr Cummings left, he said, “the government has operated better over the last six months.”

Matt Hancock outside his London home today
(Image: PA)

Since Mr Cummings left, he said, “the government has operated better over the last six months"
(Image: PA)

The things he couldn’t remember Whether he’d been warned to test care home entrants

Asked if Public Health England had previously said all new care home residents should be tested, he replied: “I have no recollection of that. That is not my recollection of the clinical advice and I haven’t seen anything on that.”

Whether he was rapped by Boris Johnson

Asked if Boris Johnson ever told him he was surprised about the situation in care homes, Mr Hancock said: “Not that I can remember”.

Whether he tried to shift the blame on PPE failures

Dominic Cummings claimed Mr Hancock accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak and NHS chief Simon Stevens of “blocking approvals” on PPE.

Mr Cummings said he asked Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill to investigate, but “the Cabinet Secretary came back to me and said ‘it’s completely untrue, I have lost confidence in the Secretary of State’s honesty in these meetings.’”

Mr Hancock did not fully deny Mr Cummings' claims that he tried to blame NHS chief executive Simon Stevens over PPE shortages, instead saying: "That is not a fair recollection".

Mr Hancock said there was a Treasury-imposed cap on PPE prices – but this was lifted after he, the Chancellor and Prime Minister intervened, and he didn’t blame the Treasury.

Asked if an investigation found Stevens was not to blame for blockages he replied: “I can’t recall that.”