Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) has serious questions to answer over whether he broke the ministerial code following recent revelations.
It comes after questions emerged over how a director of a lobbying firm, who was also a university friend of the Health Secretary, was given a series of roles at the heart of Whitehall – including a £15,000 role on the board of his department.
The Ministerial Code sets out:
“On appointment to each new office, Ministers must provide their Permanent Secretary with a full list in writing of all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict.
“The list should also cover interests of the Minister’s spouse or partner and close family which might be thought to give rise to a conflict.”
Despite the mounting pressure and questions, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said that Boris Johnson had accepted Hancock’s reasoning.
Meanwhile, a YouGov poll today found that 79% of those expressing an opinion in Scotland believe Matt Hancock should resign – with only 21% backing him in his post.
Commenting, the SNP’s Westminster Deputy leader Kirsten Oswald MP said:
“The stench of cronyism and sleaze surrounding this Tory government grows stronger with each day that passes.
“Despite the Prime Minister and Health Secretary’s best attempts to brush this entire episode under the already stuffed carpet, the reality is that there are very serious questions for Matt Hancock to answer over whether or not he broke the Ministerial Code.
“The code makes clear the rules around conflicts of interests and partners and spouses.
“While aspects of this may be private, public appointments, use of taxpayers’ money and conflicts of interest warrant proper scrutiny.
“It would be a remarkable coincidence that Matt Hancock’s very close university friend just so happens to be the best person to be appointed to this influential position.
“Yet again, the light has been shone on the sleaze and privilege at the core of this Tory government.
“The bottom line is there must be a full independent public inquiry into Tory sleaze and cronyism without any further delay.
“The Westminster system is rotten to the core and broken beyond repair.
“Instead of putting up with it, Scotland can shake off Westminster and build a fairer and more democratic future as an independent country.”