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Matt Hancock appeared to take aim at Sky News by joking that staff were “keen to get back to having parties”.
The health secretary made the jibe, which was an obvious reference to presenter Kay Burley’s lockdown rule-breaching birthday party, during an interview with the broadcaster on Sunday morning.
Sky News presenter Sophy Ridge asked Hancock: “You want to vaccinate or offer a jab to everyone by the end of July, but you can’t even tell us whether we’ll be able to go on holiday in the summer?”
Hancock replied: “Well, I know that everybody at Sky News is keen to be able to get back to having parties, and all of us, understandably, want to get back to normal.”
Burley has been taken off air at Sky News for six months after she celebrated her 60th birthday at a party in London in December despite lockdown regulations.
The party had 10 guests inside Soho’s Century Club in breach of the rule of six that was in place at the time.
Burley’s Sky News colleagues Beth Rigby, Inzamam Rashid and Sam Washington were reportedly part of the party and have also been taken off air.
Later in the evening, some of the group then went on to a private restaurant, Folie, then four went back to Ms Burley's West London home.
Burley later apologised, saying in a Tweet: “I want to apologise to you all for an error of judgment. (On the night) I was enjoying my 60th birthday at a COVID-compliant restaurant.
“I am embarrassed to say that later in the evening I inadvertently broke the rules. I had been waiting for a taxi at 11pm to get home.
is this Matt Hancock having a sly dig when he starts talking about parties 👀 pic.twitter.com/Y0LUa1liOq
— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) February 21, 2021
“Desperate for the loo I briefly popped into another restaurant to spend a penny. I can only apologise.”
Conservative London councillor, Susan Hall, praised the health secretary for his remark, tweeting: “After that ridiculous question about holidays Matt Hancock gave the best response ever.'
Another Twitter user added: “We all know everyone at Sky News is anxious to getting back to having parties is excellent shade from Matt Hancock towards Kay Burley.” But another described it as a 'cheap dig'.
Hancock also confirmed this morning that every adult in the country will be offered at least one dose of a COVID vaccine by the end of July.
The Government previously said it hoped to reach all those aged 18 and over by the autumn.
However, Boris Johnson has brought the date forward due to the current speed of the programme.
Hancock also confirmed that everyone over 50 will be offered at least a first dose by April 15, rather than by May, as previously suggested.
He also confirmed that a third of adults in England have now been vaccinated.
COVID: Hancock: All adults to be offered COVID jab by end of July