The head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has given a rather awkward – albeit telling – response when asked during an interview if he believed if Matt Hancock is “hopeless”.

In a video shared on Twitter by Sky’s deputy political editor Sam Coates, Stevens gives an awkward and silent response when asked about the health secretary’s competence in his job.

“I mean, that is a political question,” Stevens finally says, after about 10 seconds of awkwardly smiling at the camera in silence. One of his aides is heard off camera pointing out that they didn’t agree to the question and says “we’re not really going to answer that”, before the interview is swiftly wrapped up.

This comes just days after Boris Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings leaked several WhatsApp messages between the pair at the start of the pandemic in the UK in March 2020. In one exchange between the two Johnson called Hancock “totally f**king hopeless” for his handling of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Cummings has since retweeted this clip, adding that Stevens would remember the meetings when “Hancock tried to throw him under bus [sic] in Cabinet room over PPE running out.”

Others agreed that Stevens’ silence spoke volumes.

Matt Hancock has since insisted that he is “not hopeless” (see below).

But this response from Stevens is unlikely to quash those beliefs amongst the public – even though he didn’t actually say anything.

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