She knows her subject. So how did Hancock respond to one of those NHS heroes he and his pals are so ready to praise? "Mr Hancock, who was in the Commons to answer an urgent question from Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, responded: ‘I welcome the Honourable Lady to her post as part of the shadow health team. I think she might do well to take a leaf out of the shadow secretary’s book in terms of tone.’”
In other words, he told a front line NHS worker to watch her tone. Indeed, he had also told the Commons “Yes, [Jonathan Ashworth] has asked questions in a responsible and reasonable way”. Rather obvious that what he said in response to Dr Allin Khan was not a slip of the tongue. The Sky News report also read it that way.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan
And the Indy has now come back to tell “Matt Hancock is facing calls to apologise to a Labour MP who has been working on the NHS frontline after telling her to watch her ‘tone’ when she questioned him about coronavirus … It sparked outrage among opposition MPs including former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, who branded the health secretary’s words ‘creepy’ and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, who said: ‘Matt Hancock’s tone should change, not Rosena’s. Looks like the truth hurt the Secretary of State.’”
As Guardian sketch writer John Crace put it later, Rosena Allin-Khan “has far more experience of how the NHS works in practice than Hancock”, and “Not that Allin-Khan’s questions were particularly aggressive or demanding. Rather, they were completely to the point”. But failings in tacking the pandemic “had contributed to an unnecessarily high mortality rate and had meant that doctors like her had been left to break the bad news that people had died to relatives”. And now he’s made things worse by ticking her off.
Some right-wing pundits love to tell Labour MPs to “man up”. They would be better advised giving that advice to Matt Hancock. And stop him acting like a big wuss.
Time for him to realise that sniping at front line health workers is not a good look.