Matt Hancock’s “step-grandfather”, who he paid tribute to after he died of coronavirus, was actually his step-father's ex-wife's second husband, it has emerged.
Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Hancock said the coronavirus figures in Liverpool mattered to him “because last month my step-grandfather Derek caught Covid there and on November 18 he died”.
Close to tears, Mr Hancock added: “In my family, as in so many others, we've lost a loving husband, a father, a grandfather to this awful disease.
“So from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you to everyone in Liverpool for getting this awful virus under control.”
It has now emerged that Derek Johnston, who died aged 77, was only distantly related to Mr Hancock.
Mr Johnston was the second husband of Mr Hancock’s stepfather’s ex-wife, MailOnline reported.
The Health Secretary’s complex family tree involves his mother’s third marriage to Robert Carter, who was formerly married to Marjorie Johnston, who then remarried Derek.
A representative for Mr Hancock said he had nothing to add to his earlier statement in the Commons, which came at the end of a testy debate on the Government’s tiered lockdown system.
Mr Hancock attempted to persuade MPs they should vote for the plans, pointing to how well the fight against the virus was going in Liverpool, where Mr Johnston lived.
“It's down by four-fifths in Liverpool, that's what we can do if we work together in a spirit of common humanity,” he said.
“We've got to beat this, we've got to beat it together.”
When the vote came, 55 Tory MPs rebelled against the Government - the largest insurrection of this Parliament.
The measures easily passed after the Labour Party decided to abstain.