But you can’t keep a good man down for long, or even a less than totally good man, and so it came to pass that Hancock told the world that he had landed a job at the United Nations. “Honoured to be appointed United Nations Special Representative. I’ll be working with the @UN @ECA_OFFICIAL to help African economic recovery from the pandemic and promote sustainable development” he told his Twitter followers.
There was more. “His job title will be UN special representative on financial innovation and climate change for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the role is unpaid. He will continue as a Conservative MP … [he] also shared the job offer letter from The Under Secretary General of the UN, Vera Songwe, who had praised the former Health Secretary for his handling of the pandemic in the UK”. But not everyone was happy.
As the Independent has reported, “campaigners at Global Justice Now said the appointment was ‘sickening’ – condemning Hancock and others in the UK government for ‘blocking’ Covid vaccine production in the developing world … ‘Matt Hancock helped to block international efforts to allow low and middle-income countries to produce their own Covid-19 vaccines, leading to millions of deaths in the global south,’ said Nick Dearden, director of the campaign group”. Dearden was not finished.
“The audacity of this man claiming to help African nations and promote sustainable development is sickening”. But Hancock’s fellow Tories were supportive. "Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of the foreign affairs select committee said Hancock’s new job was ‘fascinating and important’”. Vicky Ford was also enthusiastic. “Congratulations [Matt Hancock] Hugely important issues & looking forward to catching up soon!”
But, it seems, the job offer was not as watertight as it might have seemed, and by yesterday, a UN spokesman had told the organisation’s news organisation Pass Blue the bad news: “Mr Hancock’s appointment by the UN Economic Commission for Africa is not being taken forward. ECA has advised him of the matter”. Oh dear!
So when Afua Hirsch asked “What did the African continent do to deserve this?” the answer was that it didn’t. Former prosecutor Nazir Afzal concluded “It would appear that Matt Hancock has been sacked by the UN before he could save Africa because the Covid report found that he didn’t save the UK”. Still, there were other claims on his time.
The Indy also noted that “Hancock and his girlfriend Gina Coladangelo were spotted in the Swiss Alps on their first holiday as a couple”. Wouldn’t be the French or Austrian Alps, would it? Nothing but the most exclusive and expensive Alps for failed ministers.
Matt Hancock went to catch a plum job. Unfortunately for him, he dropped it. Sad, really.
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