Why does it matter who Matthew Hancock snogs?

The behaviour of a Secretary of State actually matters in the way people perceive the Government and its acations.

So, the Secretary of Health has been caught with his tongue down the throat of someone who isn’t his wife. On one level I am entirely unconcerned about what Mr Hancock does in his spare time and who he does it with. Affairs are a matter to be resolved within families and for most people to be resolved in private.

BUT Hancock isn’t a private citizen. He is one of Her Majesty’s senior ministers and therefore must expect to be scrutinised much more than any one else. This is true of anyone in elected office. We court publicity when it suits us and must expect it to work against us on occasion.

It seems to me that Hancock has done three things wrong which are entirely within areas that the public should be able to question:

  1. He engaged in physical activities with an individual which was contrary to the guidance that he himself was promoting at a crucial time in the lockdown.
  2. He has introduced into the heart of government a professional lobbyist with connections that could well benefit from things she found out.
  3. He then got her a paid job as a member of a departmental board when she had no apparent qualifications for the job or knowledge of the sector.

The problem of taking on Hancock over these issues is that he is not alone. Corruption, sleaze and marital infidelity seem to be par for the course under this Tory Government. How many contracts have been given by Johnson and Hancock and Gove and Cummings on mate’s rates terms to their donors we will probably never know?

The PM cannot really chuck someone out for being unfaithful to their ways or can he!?

When Johnson refused to tackle Cummings over the Barnard Castle foray, he lost all moral integrity and leadership.

The £15,000 this woman earns for a job that takes just over one day a month is small beer to them but it is half the median wage for a full time job in the Liverpool City Region.

These things really matter for two reasons. In health terms we can see that the question quickly gets raised, “if they can do it why can’t I?” After Cummings there was a huge breakdown in trust with Police forces nationwide citing the Cummings effect on people continually breaking self-distancing rules and lockdown.

In political terms we all get tarred with the same brush. You’re all at it. Have you had your brown envelope yet; you’re a liar. All things that get thrown at the vast majority of politicians local, regional and national who genuinely try to do a good job on behalf of the people they represent or aspire to represent.

At one time a decent politician would have resigned by now. If they hadn’t resigned, they would certainly have been sacked by the PM. The question must then be, “is there any decency at the highest levels of this Tory Government?” The answer would appear to be a resounding ‘no’.

The question that we should also be asking is, “how did it all come out?” the pictures have clearly been taken from an internal security device. If it was leaked, who leaked it? If it was hacked, who hacked it? This is clearly a settling of scores by factions within the Government but who are in those factions?

I believe that Hancock should resign not because of his affair which should be a private matter but because of his public actions which have fallen well below what should be considered acceptable standards.

Don’t put money on this. Decency is in very short supply in the Tory Party. We can only hope that that the public sees through this tawdry government and votes for an alternative at every election and by-election start in Batley and Morley next week.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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