Farage Says ‘Boris Needs to Get a Grip’ on Coronavirus and Fire Health Secretary

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Brexit campaigner and member of the European Parliament, Nigel Farage talks to the media in Westminster on December 10, 2018 in London, England. The Government have delayed the Meaningful Vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal, due to take place tomorrow, after hope that it would …
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Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said that Boris Johnson “needs to get a grip” on the UK’s management of the coronavirus crisis, starting by firing health secretary Matt Hancock.

“We’re being very badly governed. We have some incredibly low-grade Cabinet ministers, and Boris needs to get a grip, quickly, to maintain public confidence,” Mr Farage said during a Facebook live stream on Monday.

While Mr Farage described Prime Minister Johnson as “by far the best of the bunch” of otherwise “pretty average” politicians in the Conservative Party, he said health secretary Matt Hancock was of the “classic Cameron/Osborne era” mould who was “without any real achievement in life at all, whose sole ambition is to climb the greasy pole”.

He criticised the minister for the lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) for medics, as well as for being on track to fail to live up to the pledge to test 100,000 people a day for coronavirus by the end of April, saying: “The simply isn’t going to happen.”

This is not the first time the Brexiteer has criticised the health secretary. At the beginning of April, Mr Farage accused both Hancock and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove of “self-indulgent mutual backslapping” while the coronavirus crisis continued to worsen and amidst the country’s ventilator shortage.

On the long-term handling of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Mr Farage said on Monday: “We knew, properly, about this crisis in the third week of January. It is now the 20th of April and Hancock has been unable to get a grip on this. I think he doesn’t have the authority. I think the public is now beginning to see right through him.

“Boris, when you’re back at the helm, sack him. Get rid of him. Show that as a leader, in a crisis, you can be ruthless.”

Reports revealed Mr Johnson is expected to return to work next week after convalescing at Chequers following a case of severe coronavirus. Farage said of the prime minister’s recovery, “Thank God he is getting better. That is really, really important,” adding that Mr Johnson may be able to restore stability, saying: “With the right level of leadership, once he’s back at the helm, he can turn some of this around.”

However, he warned that failure to “get a grip” could lead to “genuine rebellions from some nurses and some doctors” over PPE shortages and reports that 100 British healthcare workers have died.

He also cautioned that Labour’s new leader might take advantage of the Conservative government losing public faith. He reminded listeners that “Keir Starmer isn’t Jeremy Corbyn” and is a more effective political operator, “and I fear in one or two areas, public opinion could start to turn very sharply against this government.”

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