Harding has the appearance of someone prepared to put the hours in, even if they aren’t put to much obvious use

Towards the end of his interview on the Today programme, Matt Hancock was asked if Kate Bingham, the head of the UK vaccines taskforce, was right to hand out £670,000 in PR contracts to some of her old muckers. Of course, the health secretary insisted, because she had done a great job in procuring possible vaccines. Then Matt doubled down. “I would go out of my way to thank Kate Bingham,” he said. The £670,000 in unnecessary media advisers was just a sideshow. A political distraction.

“She has given up six months of her life to help the government,” he concluded with a flourish. It would be nice if everyone received such gratitude from a government minister just for doing their job. But I guess you win some and you lose some. And to be fair, not many people have gone out of their way to praise Hancock for the job he has done. There again he hasn’t always done it that well.

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