Tory MP Matthew Hancock accused of talking "nonsense" over missed Daybreak interview

Daybreak presenter says the MP, who overslept, was "much more than a minute late".

Given George Osborne's fondness for bemoaning those "sleeping off a life on benefits" there was amusement yesterday when it emerged that his former chief of staff, Matthew Hancock (read Rafael's profile of him here), missed an interview on ITV's Daybreak after he overslept. Hancock, who was due to discuss a new apprenticeship scheme for unemployed youths, was reportedly still in bed when his car arrived. The repentant Conservative MP wrote on Twitter: "I got 2 tv studio at 6:41 this am so missed 6:40 slot. You've got to be on time for work or there r consequences. I'll learn from my example".

But this morning Daybreak presenter Matt Barbet accused the skills minister of "spinning" and talking "nonsense". In a tweet addressed to the MP, he wrote: "Appreciate admission about missing us on @daybreak. Everyone oversleeps - but you know you were much more than a minute late."

He later added: "A minute after the interview starts is around 20-30 minutes later than when he should've been in the building preparing.

"Spinning it as if he was stopped from going on-air having just missed the time slot is nonsense."

We await confirmation as to whether Hancock's blinds were down this morning.

Conservative MP and skills minister Matthew Hancock at an interview he made on time.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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Gerald Kaufman dies aged 86

Before becoming an MP, Kaufman's varied career included a stint as the NS' theatre critic.

Gerald Kaufman, the Labour MP for Manchester Gorton and former theatre critic at the New Statesman, has died.

Kaufman, who served as the MP for Manchester Gorton continuously from 1970, had a varied career before entering Parliament, working for the Fabian Society in addition to his flourishing career in journalism and as a satirist, writing for That Was The Week That Was and as a leader writer on the Mirror. In 1965, he exchanged the press for politics, working as a press officer and an aide to Harold Wilson before he was elected to parliament in 1970.

Upon Labour’s return to office in 1974, he served as a junior minister until the party’s defeat in 1979, and on the opposition frontbenches until 1992, reaching the position of shadow foreign secretary. In 1999, he was chair of the Man Booker Prize, which that year was won by JM Coetzee’s Disgrace.

His death opens up a by-election in Manchester Gorton, which Labour is expected to win. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.