A senior Tory MP told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Hancock remained in the Smoking Room bar until at least 10:25 p.m. Monday, as House Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle insisted the premises of the House of Commons were to adhere to the same curfew as all English pubs.
The newspaper also reported that Mr Hancock arrived at the bar just before a 9.40pm vote, ordered a glass of white wine and joked: ‘The drinks are on me – but Public Health England is in charge of the methodology. of payment, so I won’t pay anything. ”
Mr Hancock’s alleged reference to Public Health England came after he addressed the Commons regarding the controversy the organization was misplacing nearly 16,000 coronavirus test results.
The spokesperson for the health secretary insisted the minister had not broken the curfew rules.
He said: “The proposed chronology of events is wrong and no rules have been broken.
“The Secretary of State was in the smoking room before the vote that evening. The Secretary of State left the smoking room to vote. The vote took place at 9:42 p.m.
“The Secretary of State then left the parliamentary domain to return home”.
However, a government source told the PA News Agency that Mr Hancock made the joke as reported.
The accusations come at a very sensitive time for the government as mayors in northern England expressed their opposition the measures expected next week to shut down parts of the hospitality industry, such as pubs.
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Asked about reports that Mr Hancock had been excluded from some high-level meetings regarding the coronavirus outbreak, a government spokesperson said the claims were “totally false”.
England’s deputy chief medical officer said the country had reached a tipping point similar to the first wave of coronavirus but is still able to prevent history from repeating itself.
It comes as the UK reported 15,166 more coronavirus cases and 81 more deaths in Saturday’s daily update.
The numbers are on the rise 1,302 cases according to Friday’s daily figures – when 87 deaths were reported – and means the UK has now recorded 42,760 coronavirus-related deaths.