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Queen calls Matt Hancock ‘poor man’ at meeting with PM



Queen calls Matt Hancock ‘poor man’ at meeting with PM


The Queen has had her first in-person weekly audience with the Prime Minister since before the lockdown.

On Wednesday afternoon, Boris Johnson met with the Monarch at Buckingham Palace.

In a brief video footage of their encounter, the Queen told Boris Johnson that she had been speaking to “your secretary of state for health, poor man. He came for Privy Council. He’s full of…”

Without waiting for Her Majesty to complete her sentence, Mr Johnson said, “Full of beans.”

In comments overheard on the microphone, the Queen informed the prime minister that the health secretary “thinks things are getting better.”

“They are. In the sense that we’re…,” said the prime minister.


Her compassionate ‘poor man’ remark may be a response to the weight of duty placed on Hancock as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic, or it could be a reaction to the abuse he has received from former No 10 senior assistant Dominic Cummings.

Mr Johnson referred to Health Secretary Matt Hancock as “hopeless” in texts disclosed by the PM’s former senior advisor Dominic Cummings.

The health secretary was then humiliated further when, as he was being taken away in a vehicle, a journalist shouted at him, “Are you hopeless, Mr Hancock?” As the vehicle drove away, Hancock could be heard saying, “I don’t think so…” When pressed about the remark on another occasion, Hancock dismissed it as “ancient history.”

Mr Cummings believes Mr Hancock should have been dismissed as a result of the coronavirus failures and “criminal, disgraceful behavior” on the testing goal.

Since 1952, the prime minister and the Queen have met on a weekly basis. There are no advisors present, and there is no formal record of what is spoken.

It is unusual to get a glimpse of what the Queen says to a prime minister, and even more unusual to hear her speak about any members of the cabinet.

The prime minister did not attend Prince Philip’s funeral in April because he gave up his seat to accommodate for an extra relative due to the Covid-19 number limitations. Throughout the epidemic, the Queen and Prime Minister have had telephone audiences.

The Queen greeted Mr Johnson in her private audience chamber, where her black purse was placed on a neighboring chair.

An equerry had escorted Johnson to Buckingham Palace for his audience. “How nice to see you again,” the Queen said with a broad smile as Johnson dropped his head in a bow.

Mr Johnson said: “Lovely to see you again. It’s been 15 months.”

The Queen replied: “Has it really? 15 months. It’s most extraordinary, isn’t it?”

It’s also thought to be her first visit to the building in six weeks; she was there for the state inauguration of parliament in May.

The Queen spent most of the pandemic at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

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