‘Apology will never cut it!’ Just one in four readers forgive Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock gets emotional at the Covid Inquiry

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the UK’s Covid inquiry earlier this week that he is “profoundly sorry” for his part in mistakes made during the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet the majority of Express.co.uk readers have rejected his apology, a new poll has found.

Mr Hancock told the inquiry on Tuesday, June 27, that the UK had been mistaken in planning for a flu-based illness and that the Government’s strategy was “woefully inadequate” to deal with Covid.

He said: “I bear responsibility for all the things that happened, not only in my department, but also the agencies that reported to me as secretary of state.

“The doctrine of the UK was to plan for the consequences of a disaster. Can we buy enough body bags? Where are we going to bury the dead? And that was completely wrong.”

Mr Hancock apologised directly to the families of Covid victims, saying: “I’m profoundly sorry for each death. I understand why, for some, it will be hard to take that apology from me – I understand that. I get it. But it is honest and heartfelt.”

READ MORE: Matt Hancock voice cracks in ‘honest’ apology for ‘each’ Covid death

In response, Express.co.uk ran a poll from 12.30pm on Wednesday, June 28, to 2.30pm on Friday, June 30, asking readers: “Do you accept Matt Hancock’s apology for ‘woefully inadequate’ pandemic response?”

In total, 1,977 votes were cast with the vast majority of readers, 75 percent (1,494 people) answering “no” rejecting his apology. While 24 percent (465 people) said “yes” they do and one percent 18 people said they did not know.

Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers discussed Mr Hanock’s comments.

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The predominant view shared by readers was not accepting of his apology, with username Welshant describing the mistakes in planning and during the pandemic as “unforgivable”.

Username Dreff Crolton also rejected his apology, writing: “Of course, it is not acceptable.”

While username paulusxxvii remarked: “The number of deaths and injuries caused by his actions we will never know, and an apology will never cut it.”

The COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group were angered by Mr Hancock’s apology with the group’s lawyer Elkan Abrahamson saying: “For the bereaved, it has been shocking to hear that the person with overall responsibility for the health of the nation was asleep at the wheel.”

Yet some readers did accept the apology and thought that he was not to blame. Username willlamnot commenting: “Yes. All he did was regurgitate what information he was given to release. He’s not a doctor or scientist.”

Similarly, username lin700 said: “All he did was do what he was told to do! No one has ever been through a pandemic like that before! He wasn’t the first to do wrong and he certainly won’t be the last!”

Mr Hancock served as Health Secretary from 2018 to 2021 and said he hoped the Covid inquiry would help ensure that the UK was prepared to stop a future pandemic “in its tracks much, much earlier”.

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