The National:

AS the UK Government stumbles from one scandal to the next, Tory ministers are having to perform extreme mental gymnastics just to toe the party line.

Evidently, this is taking a toll on Matt Hancock.

The Health Secretary, repeatedly forced to endure the indignity of being asked questions he doesn’t want to answer, has become increasingly tetchy in his media interviews.

Perhaps keen to cultivate a new public image, the Tory minister has gone in completely the opposite direction – opting to laugh his way through an interview about a new track and trace system.

NHS Test and Trace will be rolled out across England today with the help of 25,000 contact tracers, while an accompanying app is still delayed by several weeks.

It comes amid reports by Sky News that some contact tracers do not have their basic systems up and running yet. But the Department of Health insisted that the "vast majority of our 25,000 staff have completed their training".

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Pressing Hancock on the issue, Sky's Kay Burley said: “The problem is, you’ve rushed it forward haven’t you, because you want to take the headlines away from Dominic Cummings so you brought it forward.”

Apparently the only person in the world who finds test and tracing systems, designed to tackle a deadly pandemic, a source of hilarity, the Health Secretary couldn’t wipe a huge grin off his face.

“It’s priceless,” he said. “I’m normally accused of delaying these things and bringing them in too slowly.”

Hancock, seemingly holding back laughing fits, insisted the UK Government is moving at "just at the right speed" with the plan to help protect vulnerable people from a deadly disease.

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Watch the full exchange below.

The Tories have turned the UK into an international laughing stock. But as usual, they’ve missed the joke.