H

ealth Secretary Matt Hancock has denied that there was a Government boycott of Good Morning Britain after 201 days since a minister appeared on the ITV programme.

Mr Hancock’s appearance on Monday was the first by a member of the Government since April.

However, the Health Secretary denied that there was a Government boycott of the show and that he had come on the show “as soon as the diaries allowed”.

Presenter Piers Morgan asked the Health Secretary: “Where the hell have you all been?”

Mr Hancock responded: “Last week, I was on actually – albeit briefly. And you asked me to come back as soon as diaries would allow… and here I am.”

Mr Morgan asked if it was “right and proper” that him, the entire cabinet and Boris Johnson had boycotted the show, asking him: “Did you support the boycott?”

The Health Secretary replied: “I’m here to answer all of the questions that you have on behalf of all of your viewers.

“I was asked last week to come on and I said I would as soon as I could and here I am.”

Asked again if he supported the boycott, he added: “We haven’t been away, I have been working incredibly hard building the testing capacity that we’re talking about today, expanding the number of tests available, making progress on the vaccine which is really good, and we’ve got more good news about another vaccine going into trials today.”

GMB’s presenters have claimed that there has been a boycott of their show since April.

Mr Morgan said in a tweet on Sunday: “BREAKING: Just had a call from Downing Street. The 201-day Government boycott of @GMB is over & Health Secretary @MattHancock will be appearing on the show tomorrow morning.”

Mr Morgan had previously accused the Government of “cowardice” for not fielding members of the Cabinet for questioning.

Last month, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “pretty disgraceful” for UK Government ministers to refuse to appear on a breakfast TV show during the coronavirus pandemic, when she appeared on the show.

It is not the first boycott of a popular programme by the Government.

Last December Downing Street began a boycott of Radio 4’s Today programme that lasted until the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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