Matt Hancock mistakenly commiserates death of alive politician
Matt Hancock has been mocked after appearing to pay tribute to a deceased former Labour mayor, who is still alive.
Speaking at the Covid inquiry, Mr Hancock voiced frustration with delays and confusion over lockdown measures during the Government’s attempt to have a localised tier strategy.
He described devolved local leaders as complaining they were under “significant local pressure not to accept measures”.
However he singled out the former Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson as an exception, who was “incredibly supportive” and who helped put in place a package of measures that was effective.
While describing his work with Mr Anderson, Mr Hancock said the former mayor is “sadly no longer with us”.
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His commiserations will have come as a shock to Mr Anderson, who is still alive.
Mr Hancock’s mistake quickly led to mockery on social media, with one observer joking: “You couldn’t invent a Matt Hancock if you tried.”
Another, referring to reports Mr Hancock had wanted to “play God” during the pandemic, quipped: “Well he did want to decide who lived and who died didn’t he?”
A third, pointing to a social media post from Mr Anderson sent just 17 hours ago, said he’s “clearly tweeting beyond the grave”.
Mr Hancock’s spokesman later argued he meant that Mr Anderson is no longer in post, not that he had passed away.
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Joe Anderson served as mayor of Liverpool from 2012 to 2021.
He was suspended as a member of the Labour Party in November 2020 as one of five men in connection with an investigation into building and development contracts in the north west city.
Mr Anderson strongly denied any allegations of corruption, and in April 2022 the Lancashire police probe was dropped after a four-year investigation.
The former mayor is yet to comment.
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