Matt Hancock says trolls threatened him with ‘public execution’

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Matt Hancock has been targeted with online abuse.   (PA Wire)
Matt Hancock has been targeted with online abuse. (PA Wire)

Matt Hancock has revealed he has been targeted by online trolls who told him he should face “public execution” since quitting as Health Secretary.

The former cabinet minister resigned after breaching his own Covid restrictions when pictures emerged of him kissing adviser Gina Coladangelo.

Hancock said he had been told “there should be a public execution” and these type of threats had been in the “high single figures” in the last six months.

He told the Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics Podcast that the abuse had ramped up after his resignation.

Hancock said: It’s both the quantity but also the unpleasantness of vitriol.

“And then also there there are direct threats and it is not acceptable in a democracy.”

He said the greatest amount of abuse came from anti-vaxxers, adding: “They are very aggressive.”

The former top Tory said he had previously received advice from Labour former PM Tony Blair on how to cope with Twitter trolls.

He said: “I hope he doesn’t mind my saying this, but I got advice from Tony Blair [who said]: ‘Just don’t look at Twitter. What on earth are you looking at that for?”

Hancock has teamed up with Labour MP Rupa Huq to launch a campaign to tackle abuse aimed at people in public life.

He said there needed to be recourse to tackle anonymous accounts online but said they didn’t need to be banned.

The Tory also called on other politicians not to be drawn into abuse.

He said: “It’s also on us as politicians to rise above this, not to get tempted by the Twitter mob and to make sure that we act, talk and behave - and what we say is in a reasonable way, a reasonable tone and content.”

Mr Hancock faced an online backlash recently when he revealed he had been offered the position of unpaid “UN special representative on financial innovation and climate change” for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

The job offer was announced on the same day that a highly critical joint probe by the Commons health and science committees criticised the Government for “one of the most important public health failures” in UK history at the start of the pandemic, when Mr Hancock was health secretary.

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