A lawyer who claims he was approached by Matt Hancock’s team to represent the him in potential legal action over “The Lockdown Files” was forced to make an embarrassing climbdown on Sunday, in a GB News interview which suggests he might be the perfect fit to work for the disaster-prone MP after all.
Jonathan Coad, who acts for individuals in legal cases concerning reputation management, spoke to comedian and presenter Steve N Allen from the controversial news channel amid an ongoing fallout over leaked WhatsApp messages.
Talk TV journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who worked with the former health secretary on his book Pandemic Diaries, decided to break a non-disclosure agreement and release a batch of texts from Mr Hancock sent during the coronavirus crisis - because she considered it to be in the “public interest” to do so.
Messages published by the paper include his reaction to that article in The Sun showing him kissing his now partner Gina Coladangelo when social distancing rules were in place, his criticism of Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, and branding teaching unions “a bunch of absolute a***s”.
Mr Hancock believes the messages have been “spun to fit an anti-lockdown agenda”, while Ms Oakeshott has claimed she has been threatened with legal action after leaking the texts.
Enter Mr Coad, who was introduced by Mr Allen as someone who was “recently asked to act for Matt Hancock”, which he wasn’t too happy about.
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The lawyer said: “I’d like to say, that’s disappointing, because I made it absolutely clear to your programme, I asked them not to disclose that, and that is very, very poor journalism.”
What followed was a heated exchange where Mr Coad repeatedly called for Mr Allen to “let me finish” as he questioned Ms Oakeshott’s breach of an NDA, before several minutes later, email correspondence from the legal professional to GB News was read out on air.
“As a courtesy to the lady who approached me to act for MH [Matt Hancock] I would be grateful if it was mentioned that he asked me to act for him (via his assistant),” it states.
As Mr Coad admitted the mistake and offered his “abject apologies”, applause could be heard from GB News’ live studio audience before the interview concluded.
And it appears Twitter loved the exchange too:
\u201cHow to trash your professional reputation live on air.\u201d— Adrian Hilton (@Adrian Hilton) 1678055317
\u201cguys this bloke has had an absolute NIGHTMARE On GB news wow it really is quite spectacular\u201d— Ava-Santina (@Ava-Santina) 1678051526
\u201cThis is glorious. Keep watching to the very end. It's worth it\u201d— Stephen Pollard (@Stephen Pollard) 1678087573
Meanwhile, Ms Oakeshott told Lewis Goodall of The News Agents podcast that Mr Hancock “should not poke the hornet’s nest” when fighting back against the publication of the WhatsApp messages, and that she has “nuclear weapons” she could deploy if he does.
Popcorn at the ready, folks.
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