Matt Hancock says he vetoed ‘bonkers proposal’ to let loose prisoners throughout lockdown


A plan to launch “hundreds” of prisoners was thought of through the Covid-19 lockdown, in line with Matt Hancock’s diaries.

The main points, first reported by the Day by day Mail, which is serialising the previous well being secretary’s journals, come as Hancock returns to Westminster after his stint on ITV’s I’m a Movie star… Get Me Out of Right here!

The previous well being secretary, who was one of many key figures in authorities because the nation navigated the pandemic, reveals in his diaries that the ministry of justice proposed to launch prisoners amid considerations in regards to the unfold of the virus.

In a diary entry on 17 March, he wrote: “A bonkers proposal from the Ministry of Justice to let prisoners out, as they’d be simpler to handle in the event that they’re not in jail.

“Sure, actually: they really thought this is likely to be a goer. I used to be emphasising [my opposition] so onerous that hastily my chair might take the pressure not and ripped, tipping me unceremoniously on to the ground.”’

Later, on 3 April, he wrote: “Officers are nonetheless insisting that justice secretary Rob Buckland desires to launch hundreds of non-violent prisoners to take the stress off the system. I preserve writing ‘NO’ in giant letters on submissions asking me to signal this off.

“It’s apparent the general public received’t put on it, but the thought retains going forwards and backwards on paper.

“After in regards to the third iteration, I referred to as Rob Buckland, who to my astonishment advised me he’d been suggested that I used to be the one who needed to launch them.

“Sadly, this nonetheless wasn’t the top of the matter. Clearly somebody in Whitehall nonetheless thought it was a good suggestion and saved pushing it, to the purpose that the PM requested to speak to us each. I made my views crystal clear.

“We can’t lock up actually everybody within the nation besides prisoners, who we as an alternative launch, I spluttered.”

A ministry of justice spokesperson stated: “HMPPS moved to guard the NHS through the pandemic by the restricted launch of a really small variety of low-level, tagged and risk-assessed prisoners simply weeks earlier than they had been on account of depart jail anyway.

“This was profitable in avoiding the hundreds of jail deaths predicted by Public Well being England.”

In line with the paper, Hancock wrote within the prologue to the diaries: “I’m pleased with what we achieved, particularly on the vaccine.

“However there may be a lot to study for the subsequent public well being disaster of this type, which I’m positive will occur in my lifetime.”

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