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Why people are furious about Matt Hancock’s Pandemic Diaries book

“Frankly, your private life interests me not one iota. Like millions, national chaos does,” wrote one constituent in response to a tweet by Hancock promoting his new book

Fresh from a stint in the jungle and no doubt still walking tall after millions of votes from the British public, Matt Hancock is back on the grind in his day job. But first, he’s releasing new book The Pandemic Diaries just in time for Christmas. 

Buoyed by his third placed finish on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Hancock has wasted little time in putting himself back in the spotlight with another media tour for his memoir. 

Billed as a collection of “never-before-seen material, including official records, his notes at the time and communications with all the key players in Britain’s Covid-19 story,” the book is going for £25 at Waterstones and will be on shelves from Tuesday.

While Michael Gove has already called it “the first draft of history”, not everyone is as impressed.

“Anyone who gives this moron money for spouting his manipulated lies needs a brain transplant”, Ohyllis Smith wrote in the reviews on the Waterstones website.

Here’s why people are angry that Hancock has published a book that centres himself “at the forefront of Britain’s battle against the virus”.

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Hancock claims care home staff brought coronavirus into care homes

Ahead of the official launch, The Daily Mail and Mail+ have run extracts from Hancock’s book.

In one of those extracts, he defends his decision to discharge care home residents from hospital without testing by claiming that staff introduced the virus into care homes. 

There was “scandalous behaviour” by some care home operators, he says, who were using staff who had tested positive for coronavirus, and claims there were at least 40 care homes where this was happening.

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Thousands of people are believed to have died as a result of the decision, and it led to outbreaks in care homes across the country. A judge has since ruled the policy was unlawful and irrational and about 20,000 care home residents died from Covid during the first wave of the pandemic in England.

“How dare you blame care workers for taking covid into care homes… My daughter’s a care worker. She did 15hr days to care for her clients. She used PPE multiple times & often had to wear bin bags. She cried SO many times! She was 18yr old, all for £8.60ph,” wrote Twitter user Claire. 

People have had enough of his self-promotion

Are you perplexed how Hancock made it to the final of I’m a Celebrity despite a lot of people taking issue with the disgraced former health secretary

The secret to his success, claims the Guardian, was all down to a public relations team that encouraged people on TikTok to vote for him by giving them step-by-step instructions. Hancock’s PR team has posted at least 24 videos of him on the app about his time in the jungle, amassing more than 77,000 followers and at least 511,800 likes across his official TikTok account.

And it seems like he’s just getting started in his campaign of self promotion – though what do we expect from the man who launched “Matt Hancock MP” the official app all the way back in 2018. 

“Ahead of my book, Pandemic Diaries, which is being released on Tuesday, read my interview with The Mail +” he posted on Facebook and Twitter. 

“I fail to grasp why Mail on Sunday thinks Matt Hancock’s diaries are worth eight pages of mollycoddling. People DIED needlessly. The investment in editorial space is out of proportion to his commercial popularity and standing. Madness!” said David Yelland, former journalist and editor of The Sun, in response to Hancock making it on to the front page of the Mail on Sunday. 

He wants forgiveness for falling in love, not for his handling of the pandemic

“I want forgiveness for the mistake I made, the failure of leadership at the end of the pandemic when I fell in love with Gina and I broke the guidance that I’d signed off. I want forgiveness for the human error I made … but I’m not asking for forgiveness for how I handled the pandemic,” he wrote in the Pandemic Diaries.

Covid restrictions in May 2021, which Hancock had devised, did not allow socialising indoors with people from another household unless they were in a support bubble, meaning the affair broke his own rules.  

Hancock admitted breaking social distancing guidance after pictures were published, saying he had “let people down” and he was “very sorry”. He resigned the day after The Sun’s story and separated from his wife of 15 years, Martha Hoyer Millar, with whom he has three children.

“As a constituent, I shan’t be (reading your book),” replied Linda Johns, to Hancock’s tweet promoting his book on Twitter. 

“Instead, we need a formal, official, accurate and truthful analysis of the political and financial decisions made during your tenure. Frankly, your private life interests me not one iota. Like millions, national chaos does.” 

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