Matt Hancock has blasted Nicola Sturgeon in his pandemic diaries, accusing her of seeing to build a “Trump-style wall” between Scotland and the UK. The First Minister took a markedly different approach to tackling Covid-19 than then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, publicly backing a zero-Covid policy. However, in a new book using diaries throughout 2020 and 2021, the former Health Secretary said Ms Sturgeon was “on manoeuvres” during the UK’s battle with the virus.
In his entry from May 4, Mr Hancock wrote: “Tonight, Nicola Sturgeon announced a ‘summer push to elimination [of Covid]’.”
The former Health Secretary’s diaries, serialised by the Daily Mail, see him say Ms Sturgeon’s Covid policy “has about as much hope of working as Chairman Mao’s attempt to eliminate sparrows by getting the Chinese population to bang pots and pans”.
He then added: “Much as I’m sure Nicola would love to build a Trump-style wall between her fiefdom and the rest of Great Britain, we’re all in this together.”
Mr Hancock also accused the First Minister of being “on manoeuvres” throughout, and using the pandemic to try to further the SNP’s independence cause.
The first case of Covid-19 in Scotland was recorded on March 1, 2020, within Ms Sturgeon issuing a statement urging people with symptoms to stay at home for seven days almost immediately.
By March 15, the Scottish Government had advised event organisers to postpone or cancel any events of 500 people or more.
On March 17, she warned “life will change significantly” in Scotland, meanwhile then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak was declaring the biggest package of emergency state support for the UK since the 2008 financial crash.
Official lockdown was declared in Scotland on March 24, 2020, still in line with the decisions Boris Johnson and Mr Hancock were making in Britain.
READ MORE: Matt Hancock’s Covid diaries lay bare moment whole room froze
It comes after Mr Hancock returned to parliament after appearing on the reality show ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’.
When he was first announced for the show, the Scottish First Minister said it was a “disgrace”.
She said at the time: “I think it’s disgraceful. I’m not particularly interested in how he gets on in the jungle.
“Most of my interactions with Matt, over the past few years, were when he was still UK Health Secretary were over Covid and we are not properly out of Covid yet.
“We certainly haven’t had the full public inquiries that we need to have.To see him I think demeaning the office he used to hold and also do a real disservice to those whose lives have been impacted by Covid.
“I think it’s the wrong decision. But there are many, many more important things for all of us to be focusing on right now than whatever Matt Hancock chooses to get up to.”
Despite his stint on the ITV show, YouGov Ratings shows Mr Hancock remains one of the least popular MPs in the country.
According to the pollsters, while 95 percent have heard of the former Health Secretary, only 16 percent of Britons have a positive opinion of him.
He ranks 25th in a list of 120 the most popular Conservatives in the UK, but is one of the best known MPs on the list.
YouGov Ratings latest data is based on 1119 nationally representative interviews of the GB population, collected during Q3 2022.