Jacob Rees-Mogg has explained the circumstances behind a couriered Covid test, delivered to his home for his one of his children during the Covid pandemic.
The Conservative MP and then leader of the House of Commons revealed on GB News that the “special treatment” is not something he asked for, and instead came about as a result of a failed system.
Speaking on his GB News show, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State of the Nation, he said: “What happened was that one of my children needed a test and that put everybody into quarantine.
“But unfortunately the testing people lost it, and that meant I was quarantined and unable to do my job as a Government minister for several days until it was admitted that it had been lost.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has explained the circumstances behind a controversial Covid test
“At that point, it was raised with the Department of Health, and they decided to send a test to a member of my family so a test could be carried out.
“It wasn’t something I asked for, so if I received special treatment it wasn’t because I had requested it, but it was to allow a Government minister to get back to work, with a child who didn’t actually have Covid in the first place, who wouldn’t have needed a test had the system actually been working.
“But I accept that it wasn’t working for other people too.”
As part of the leak of Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages to the Daily Telegraph, the paper reported that in September 2020 an adviser to the then health secretary helped get a test sent to Mr Rees-Mogg’s home even as others across the country struggled to access testing.
The aide messaged Mr Hancock to say the lab had “lost” the original test for one of the senior Conservative’s children, “so we’ve got a courier going to their family home tonight”.
He added: “Jacob’s spad (special adviser) is aware and has helped line it all up, but you might want to text Jacob.”
The claim that a test was couriered to the then Commons leader’s home, and which came during a backlog in testing, has prompted calls for the Government to look into the matter.
A spokesperson for Sir Keir Starmer urged the Government not to “hide” behind the Covid inquiry and look into the matter immediately.
Matt Hancock has threatened to sue the Daily Telegraph newspaperPA
Downing Street admitted there is “significant public interest” in the story.
“That’s why we have established an independent public inquiry that will look to establish the facts,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.
“It’s not for me to look at individual claims put out.
“Claims related to how the Government acted, related to testing and who did or did not receive tests at different points during the pandemic I’m sure will form part of the independent inquiry.”