MATT Hancock has said that he is the victim of a “massive betrayal and breach of trust” following after leaked messages revealed the inside working of government during the coronavirus crisis.

The MP said there was “absolutely no public interest case for this huge breach”, which alleged that he ignored advice given to him regarding testing in care homes by Professor Sir Chris Whitty.

He said: “I am also very sorry for the impact on the very many people – political colleagues, civil servants and friends – who worked hard with me to get through the pandemic and save lives.”

Hancock said that all the material used for his Pandemic Diaries book was given to the Covid-19 public inquiry.

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The journalist who passed the messages to The Daily Telegraph, Isabel Oakeshott, has also alleged that Hancock sent her a threatening message after the story was published.

Explaining this, the former health secretary said: “Last night, I was accused of sending menacing messages to Isabel. This is also wrong.

“When I heard confused rumours of a publication late on Tuesday night, I called and messaged Isabel to ask her if she had ‘any clues’ about it and got no response.

“When I then saw what she’d done, I messaged her to say it was a ‘big mistake’. Nothing more.”

Oakeshott has since said she would not get involved in a “slanging match” with Hancock “because it wouldn’t be pretty”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today show: “He can threaten me all he likes. There are plenty of things I can say about his behaviour by the way, that I’m not going to do – at least not at this stage – because this is not about Matt Hancock.

“It is so much bigger than that.”

Pressed on her claim about the message he sent her, Oakeshott said: “I’m saying that he sent me a message at 1.20am in the morning. It wasn’t a pleasant message.”

She added that anyone who thinks she handed over the messages for money “must be utterly insane”.

“This is about the millions of people, every one of us in the country that were adversely affected by the catastrophic decision to lock down this country repeatedly, often on the flimsiest of evidence for political reasons.”

The latest revelations from a collection of more than 100,000 messages also show that Hancock asked former Tory chancellor George Osborne to fix him a favourable front page in the Evening Standard.

The Daily Telegraph also highlighted an exchange between Hancock and one of his aides from December 2020 after Sir Gavin Williamson persuaded Boris Johnson that schools in England should reopen as planned at the start of the January term.

Hancock and Emma Dean, a special adviser, communicated during a Zoom meeting in which Williamson convinced the prime minister the January reopening should go ahead despite concerns about the Covid wave then gripping the country.

Dean said the education secretary was “freaking out”, adding: “You can tell he isn’t being wholly rational. Just by his body language.”

Hancock replied: “I’m having to turn the volume down.”

At the end of the meeting, Hancock said: “I want to find a way, Gavin having won the day, of actually preventing a policy car crash when the kids spread the disease in January. And for that we must now fight a rearguard action.”

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The Telegraph said the messages show he then contacted Dan Rosenfield, Johnson’s chief of staff, to begin his attempt to have schools closed before children returned, providing him with his private email address.

In the event, on January 4, after many younger children had returned to classes for a single day, Johnson announced schools would close and exams would be cancelled amid a national lockdown. They did not reopen until March 8.