How Helen Whatley and Matt Hancock joked about celebrating Piers Morgan’s GMB departure

  • Minister discusses celebrating Piers Morgan GMB departure with Matt Hancock
  • Mr Hancock replied ‘absolutely right’ in the message, one of the latest to be released

No10’s social care minister joked about celebrating Piers Morgan’s departure from Good Morning Britain after a disastrous interview with the host.

Helen Whalley asked ex-health secretary Matt Hancock if he should toast her leaving the ITV show in March 2021.

Mr Hancock replied ‘absolutely right’ to a message released from a trove of over 100,000 WhatsApp messages sent to The Telegraph by journalist Isabel Oakeshott.

The comments come after Ms Whalley’s infamous run-in with Piers a year ago, when he blasted her for laughing when asked about the death toll in England’s care homes during the early days of the Covid pandemic.

Helen Whatley asked former health secretary Matt Hancock whether he should toast her leaving the ITV show at a meeting held in March 2021 or later. IMAGE: Piers Morgan storms off GMB after furious row with weatherman Alex Beresford over Meghan Markle
The comments come after Ms Whalley’s infamous run-in with Piers a year ago (pictured) when he blasted her for laughing when asked about the death toll in England’s care homes during the early days of the Covid pandemic Did.
In a message to Mr Hancock on 9 March 2021, Ms Whatley said: ‘How about we celebrate Piers’ departure after our team meeting? just a thought.’ Former Health Secretary replied: ‘Absolutely correct’

In a message to Mr Hancock on 9 March 2021, Ms Whatley said: ‘How about we celebrate Piers’ departure after our team meeting? just a thought.’

The former health secretary replied: ‘Absolutely correct’.

This is despite the UK being in its third lockdown, during which social gatherings indoors were illegal.

The Telegraph reported that the message, which has not been seen or independently verified by MailOnline, does not indicate whether the plans were in fact made.

But a government spokesman said there was ‘no celebration’ and Ms Whatley’s comments were ‘a joke’.

This came after Pierce sensationally quit the show that day, which he co-hosted with Susanna Reed.

Isabel Oakeshott claims relationship with Matt Hancock soured after he ‘disappeared’ to appear on I’m a Celebrity without telling

The West Suffolk MP traveled to Australia in November to appear on the ITV show, for which she was paid £320,000, at a ‘pivotal moment’ while the pair were working on their book pandemic diaries, Isabel Oakeshott (This Morning) featured on BBC Breakfast) said

Meghan Markle came to blows after she said she ‘didn’t believe a word’ of it during her blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which she detailed her mental health struggles.

A day after making the comments, the 57-year-old stormed out of the studio after being challenged by meteorologist Alex Beresford, who said Piers had continued to ‘trashhold’ Meghan even though he had not spoken about her.

Pearse’s comments led to Ofcom receiving around 60,000 complaints.

But the media watchdog ruled that his criticism, which included referring to Meghan as ‘Princess Pinocchio’, did not breach broadcasting codes.

About a year before his exit from the show, which saw record ratings during Pearce’s time, he had a falling out with Ms. Whatley.

He asked the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent whether it was true that 4,000 people had died in care homes because of the virus.

The Daily Mail exclusive warned there was a ‘hidden epidemic’ of Covid deaths in care homes, because of a lack of tests to confirm the fatalities were beneath the virus.

He asked: ‘Is it true that 4,000 people have died in care homes? Yes or no?’

The Social Care Minister thanked them for acknowledging the work the government was doing and said the work was ‘really important’.

Pearce interrupted to say that it was more important that 4,000 people died and that he was showing the audience The Daily Mail front page, only for the minister to laugh.

The host said: ‘I don’t know why you’re laughing. why are you laughing I’m telling you what it is, it’s very serious indeed.

‘It says that 4,000 people may have died in care homes in this country. I mean why are you doing all these tests now?’

Ms Whatley replied: ‘I’m sorry. My reaction was just because you said you would show me something. I have been asked to set the camera, so I am watching it so that I cannot see what you have caught.’

Pearce continued to press Ms Whatley whether the figures were correct and asked her why she was laughing.

Additional WhatsApp messages between Mr Hancock and his team on 3 May 2020 show what Mr Hancock intentionally told Pearce after he revealed he had mild Covid symptoms and would be at GMB until his results came back But will not appear.

In a group chat with colleagues, Mr Hancock shared a link to the tweet and said: ‘As fascinating as this is, I probably shouldn’t comment on it, but some colleagues have kindly pointed out that he was only referring to the ramp. Reason can be tested. The increase in testing last week would be good.

The former health secretary was advised to ‘tweet him well wishes’ and ‘be really classy’ and then ‘let others know how classy you are’.

After deliberations in the group chat, Mr Hancock finally tweeted: ‘Sorry to see Piers Morgan has symptoms of coronavirus. If you test positive, I sincerely hope it is mild. Get well soon.

Major claims of investigation of lockdown files

A fresh cache of 100,000 text and WhatsApp messages leaked to the Daily Telegraph claimed the pandemic diaries of former ghostwriter Hancock journalist:

  • Matt Hancock rejects chief medical officer’s call for English care homes to test all visiting residents for Covid
  • A minister in Mr Hancock’s department said the ban on visitors to care homes was ‘inhumane’, but residents remained in isolation for several months
  • Mr Hancock’s adviser arranged personal testing for Jacob Rees-Mogg’s baby at a time of national shortage
  • Mr Hancock told the then editor of the Evening Standard, the former Chancellor George Osborne, ‘I want to hit my target!’ as he pushed for favorable front-page coverage
  • Mr Hancock reportedly met his 100,000-test-a-day target by counting kits that were sent before the deadline but could never be processed
  • Social Care Minister Helen Whatley told Mr Hancock the testing system was ‘definitely working’ after she managed to secure a test ‘just’ 50 miles from where she lives.
  • Mr Osborne warned Mr Hancock that ‘nobody thinks testing is going well’ in late 2020
  • The then prime minister, Boris Johnson, revealed he was ‘quietly cracking crackers’ about the lack of testing kits in the UK
  • Face masks were introduced in school hallways and communal areas after the Prime Minister said it would avoid an ‘argument’ with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
  • Matt Hancock ‘regards’ action to close schools after former education secretary Sir Gavin Williamson persuaded the PM to keep them open in January 2021
  • Sir Gavin said teachers are looking for ‘excuses’ not to work during the pandemic
  • Ministers said there was ‘no strong argument’ for imposing ‘rule of six’ on children, but did it anyway
  • Pupils with false positive results in the lateral flow test had to be isolated at home for ten days, even if they tested negative on PCR, to avoid ‘unpicking’ the policy.
  • The PM feared the UK might ‘blink too soon’ in plunging into a second Covid lockdown after warning that the gloomy modeling that spurred him on the move was ‘very wrong’.
  • Mr Johnson was keen to introduce curbs on retail, hospitality and gatherings in June 2020, but was told he was ‘far ahead of public opinion’.
  • Mr Hancock and top civil servant Simon Case joke about travelers being ‘locked up’ in quarantine hotels during Covid lockdown
  • Minister says govt should ‘get tough with police’ to crack down on those breaking Covid lockdown rules
  • Mr Hancock’s team asked if they could ‘lock up’ Nigel Farage after he posted a video of himself in a pub after they suspected he was breaching the rules
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