Matt Hancock slammed for trying to claim England entered lockdown on 16 March – a week before it actually happened

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Thursday 16 July 2020 18:15
news

If there's one lockdown cliche we can pretty much all relate to, it's the complete loss of any real sense of time.

That, and now knowing what any of the rules really mean.

But if there's one person who should probably be a bit more aware of these things than the average person, it's Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Yet speaking in the House of Commons yesterday evening, Hancock left people baffled when he appeared to have no sense of when lockdown actually happened.

Labour MP for Coventry South Zarah Sultana addressed the fact that the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has revealed that the SAGE committee urged the government to go into lockdown on 16 March, a week before it actually happened on 23 March.

She said:

The secretary of state has just suggested that he responded by advising people to practise social distancing on that date. But advising people to socially distance is not the same as imposing a lockdown. 

That week-long delay could have cost thousands of lives. So I ask the secretary of state, why did the governement fail to act when SAGE called on it to, and does the secretary of state regret this delay?

All this seems like a pretty reasonable thing to ask the government to address, but apparently Hancock disagreed.

He replied:

She's trying again! The front bench opposite said this. On the 16 March, I said to this House – and it was welcomed by the front bench opposite: 'Today we are advising people against all unnecessary social contact with others and all unnecessary travel'.

That is when the lockdown truly started.

Needless to say, the Opposition erupted into heckles at the suggestion that "advice" = lockdown.

And over on social media, the mood was pretty similar, with people furious at Hancock's response, including Piers Morgan, who called it "shameful" and a "bare-faced lie".

People were baffled at this bizarre attempt to rewrite history so recent that we can literally all remember it happening.

Lots and lots of people accused Hancock of gaslighting, a (somewhat overused) term which refers to emotional and psychological manipulation whereby a victim ends up questioning their own sense of reality and sanity.

While making us think we've all lost our minds probably wasn't Hancock's intention, there is definitely something sinister about trying to convince the country that our own memories and experiences are invalid.

For the avoidance of doubt, Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth came with the receipts.

indy100 can confirm that lockdown was officially announced on 23 March, before which there was simply "advice" to avoid too much contact and lots and lots of chat about singing happy birthday while washing our hands.

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