Matt Hancock wanted to ‘frighten the pants’ off public with new Covid strain, leak shows

Matt Hancock told aides he wanted to “frighten the pants off everyone” to ensure compliance with Covid-19 restrictions, leaked messages reveal. The latest set of WhatsApp exchanges show the former health secretary and others discussing how to "deploy" an announcement about the variant to scare the public into changing their behaviour.The conversation, on 13 December, came amid concerns about the rapid spread of Covid in south-east England. On 14 December, Mr Hancock announced that a new variant had been identified in the UK.