Good morning. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, will be questioned by MPs from the Commons health and science committees this morning about the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic. He is expected to take questions for up to four hours, and it should be the most in-depth interrogation of a cabinet minister on this topic we have had so far.
Hancock will be asked to respond to the multiple allegations against him last week. But he also faces fresh questions about what was done to protect care homes. As my colleague Robert Booth reports, some of the UK’s biggest care home operators have told the Guardian they repeatedly warned Hancock’s department about the risk of not testing people discharged from hospitals into care homes in March 2020.
And this morning Rachel Clarke, the prominent palliative care doctor and author, has posted a Twitter thread claiming that when Hancock said he was protecting care homes, he was lying. It starts here.
Clarke says she was working in a hospice when the pandemic started, and that they were given the same PPE as care homes.
She says Hancock said he was setting up an NHS PPE hotline for people who needed PPE. But it took a long time to get through, and the hospice was then told it did not qualify for help. The hospice feared it might have to close, and only stayed open because a charity provided PPE. Clarke says this was the worst dereliction of duty she has encountered in 12 years as a doctor.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, gives evidence to the Covid inquiry being jointly held by the Commons health and science committees.
9.30am: NHS England publishes its monthly waiting time figures.
10am: Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, Sir Chris Wormald, permanent secretary at the Department for Health, and Sir Tom Scholar, permanent secretary at the Treasury, give evidence to the Commons public accounts committee on lessons learned during the pandemic.
2pm: Public Health England publishes its weekly Covid surveillance report.
Afternoon: Boris Johnson meets Joe Biden, the US president, in Cornwall. They will sign a new “Atlantic charter”.
Politics Live has been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news recently, and that is likely to be the case today. This morning I will be mostly focusing on the Hancock committee hearing, and this afternoon I will be mostly focusing on the Johnson/Biden meeting.
For more Covid coverage, do read our global live blog.
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